Subject: You/thou
From: David Ibbetson <ibbetson -at- IDIRECT -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 1995 11:51:57 -0500

Tracey Bovington asks whether I write "Shouldst thou discover any errors in
thy new Widget, pray contact our Customer Service department forthwith?"

I would place the question mark outside the quotes. Otherwise, setting aside
Historical Novels as irrelevant, I have some difficulty in imagining a
customer that would prefer such a style. (I raised the question of modern
Quaker practice somewhere. I'd be grateful if somebody would tell me what
their modern practice is and, if they've dropped "thee" and "thou", when did
this happen?)

I'm not going to say touche<accent required>. If she objects to "thou" as
the singular of "you" she will, I suspect, accept that modern English
doesn't lack a plural for "you". "You" like "sheep" has the same form in the
singular and plural. The change didn't happen overnight.

References to "you all" suggest that some communities feel the lack of a
distinct plural form. Whether this will catch on generally, only time will tell.

David (more idiotic than usual) Ibbetson
Fantastic First Footing
Spiffing Saturnalia
Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukah
Yummy Yule

David Ibbetson Phone (416) 363-6692
ibbetson -at- idirect -dot- com Fax (416) 363-4987
133 Wilton Street, #506
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5A 4A4

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