What is the past tense of "thou knowest"?

rambler

Senior Member
English Canada (blizzards!)
What is the past tense of "thou knowest"?

(1) Is it "thou knewest" or "thou knew" or something else?

(2) Also, what about "thou didst know" versus "thou did know"? Which is correct?

Thanks in advance.
 
  • timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    I have a feeling that back in the times when we used "thou" and added "est" etc we did not use "did" as an auxiliary verb. So you would never say "thou didst know" anyway.

    I could be wrong about that, but it rings a bell.
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    I have a feeling that back in the times when we used "thou" and added "est" etc we did not use "did" as an auxiliary verb. So you would never say "thou didst know" anyway.

    I could be wrong about that, but it rings a bell.

    "If thou didst know me, thou wouldst talk with me"

    Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    "If thou didst know me, thou wouldst talk with me"
    Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus
    That's the conditional use there.

    In other places where he used the conditional Shakespeare wrote "if you did know" I found…

    Henry VI, Part III: Act II, Scene II
    KING HENRY VI: Ah, cousin York! would thy best friends did know
    How it doth grieve me that thy head is here!

    Merchant of Venice: Act V, Scene I
    BASSANIO: Sweet Portia,
    If you did know to whom I gave the ring,
    If you did know for whom I gave the ring

    Pericles, Prince of Tyre: Act V, Scene I
    MARINA: I said, my lord, if you did know my parentage,
    You would not do me violence.

    Sonnet I
    As if by some instinct the wretch did know

    Timon of Athens: Act II, Scene II
    CAPHIS: If you did know, my lord, my master’s wants—

    The Winter’s Tale: Act II, Scene III
    LEONTES: Were I a tyrant,
    Where were her life? she durst not call me so,
    If she did know me one. Away with her!


    Otherwise, for the genuine past tense, I found these three.
    As You Like It: Act IV, Scene I
    ROSALIND: O coz, coz, coz, my pretty little coz, that thou
    didst know how many fathom deep I am in love!

    Antony & Cleopatra: Act III, Scene XI
    MARK ANTONY: You did know
    How much you were my conqueror;

    Othello: Act V, Scene II
    OTHELLO: [Rising] O, she was foul!
    I scarce did know you, uncle: there lies your niece,


    Unfortunately, as I found over 100 instances of the word "knew", this tells us nothing concrete :D
     
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