A polemic on pronouns

English speakers used to distinguish between thou, a word used to address a single person, and you, a word used to address more than one person. Just as kings used a royal, plural we when referring to one person, English speakers came to use a flattering you when addressing a single person. The Quakers retained thou to avoid elevating anyone with you. To non-Quakers, this standing on principle sounded antiquated and pedantic.

• • •