A Dictionary of the English Language
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I (personal pronoun)

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1035

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1035

I. pronoun personal. [ik, Gothick; ic, Saxon; ich, Dutch.]

I, gen. me; plural we; gen. us.
ic,   me,   we,   us.
  1. The pronoun of the first person, myself.

    I do not like these several councils, I. Shakes. Rich. III.

    There is none greater in this house than I. Gen. xxxix. 9.

    Be of good cheer, it is I; be not afraid. Mat. xiv. 27.

    What shall I do to be for ever known,
    And make the age to come my own?
    I shall like beasts or common people dye,
    Unless you write my elegy.
    Cowley.

    Hence, and make room for me. Cowley.

    When chance of business parts us two,
    What do our souls, I wonder, do?
    Cowley.

    Of that book you have given us a large earnest. Cowley.

    Thus, having pass'd the night in fruitless pain,
    I to my longing friends return again.
    Dryden's &AE;n.

  2. Me is in the following passage written for I.

    There is but one man whom she can have, and that is me. Clarissa.

  3. I is more than once in Shakespeare written for ay, or yes.

    Hath Romeo slain himself? Say thou but I,
    And that bare vowel, I, shall poison more
    Than the death-darting eye of cockatrice.
    Shakespeare.

    Did your letters pierce the queen?
    I, sir; she took 'em and read 'em in my presence,
    And now and then an ample tear trill'd down.
    Shakespeare.

Sources: Cowley, Abraham (19) · Dryden, John (788) · The Bible - Genesis (48) · Shakespeare's King Lear (144) · The Bible - Matthew (21) · Shakespeare's Richard III (63) · Richardson, Samuel (11) · Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (46)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "I (personal pronoun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 4, 2012. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=2615.


  1. [ik, Gothick; ic, Saxon; ich, Dutch.]

    Suggested corrections:
    In Dutch the ego-pronoun is “ik” and not “ich”,
    In German the ego-pronoun is “ich”.

  2. j. Richter on January 23rd, 2013 at 10:01 am
  3. This site is a digital version of Samuel Johnson’s 1755 dictionary, rather than a modern dictionary, so I am faithfully transcribing it and not correcting things that have since been corrected by later etymologists or lexicographers. As Johnson himself states in his Preface, “The work, whatever proofs of diligence and attention it may exhibit, is yet capable of many improvements: the orthography which I recommend is still controvertible, the etymology which I adopt is uncertain, and perhaps frequently erroneous…

  4. Brandi on January 23rd, 2013 at 11:30 am
  5. In Some Notes to the Etymons of English Words (http://www.scribd.com/doc/4026715/Etymology-of-English-Words) the author, John Thomson (1826), claims that the ego-pronoun “was written y by Shakespeare (and Wycliffe!). The Arabs say y for me”. The “y” in these cases are lower case letters.

    I didn’t find conformation for both claims.
    Maybe this would be interesting for you.

  6. j. Richter on January 23rd, 2013 at 10:22 am
  7. OK, thank you!

  8. j. Richter on January 25th, 2013 at 12:18 pm

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