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Why 'I'?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:12 pm Reply with quote
thegooseking
 
Joined: 10 Sep 2006
Posts: 64
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland


Why do we capitalise the first-person singular nominative pronoun, but not any other pronoun (unless referring to deities), not even first-person pronouns in other cases?

My initial thought was that it might have had something to do with it being a single letter, but we don't capitalise the indefinite article 'a'.

Then I thought it might be because in simple sentence structures, the subject comes at the beginning of the sentence. This seems to make sense: a lot (perhaps most?) of the situations in which the word 'I' would be used would have it at the beginning of the sentence, thus demanding a capital letter, and it's fairly easy to imagine that as 'I' migrates away from the beginning of the sentence, it simply doesn't lose that capitalisation.

One rule that seems to be a problem for that is the rule that, when enumerating a group of people, the first-person pronoun always comes last (e.g. "You, Mark, Jim, Thomas and I went into town.") though I've never really understood whether this is more a rule of grammar or of etiquette.

Anyone have any idea if I'm even on the right track?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 3:43 am Reply with quote
RabiAkiva
 
Joined: 28 Jun 2006
Posts: 163
Location: Israel


I have no idea, really. But as a side note, I'd like to point to http://englishplus.com/grammar/00000044.htm where it is claimed that also the word O must always be capitalized. Why O?
Why me? Why us? Laughing

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:46 pm Reply with quote
Mister Micawber
 
Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Posts: 7
Location: Yokohama


.
HERE is more than we may care to read about it... and it still does not answer the question.
.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:29 pm Reply with quote
Eileen Ann
 
Joined: 27 Jun 2008
Posts: 42


I can tell you that "I" always comes last because of politeness. As to why it is always capitalised one, i, we can assume that it is because it looks odd otherwise! Subject being "I" and object being "me" same rule doesn't apply. I suggest - highly tentatively and somewhat creatively - it is something to do with the spiritual aspect of "I". Think Thomas More in his conscience wrestling time defying Henry VIII. He distinguished clearly between the "I" of the self and the "me" of the self which I have always believed meant the soul and the ego of oneself.

An old Yorkshire saying is this : A man knocked on God's door. God said "Who goes there?". The man replied "It is me Lord". God said "Go away then, there is not enough room in here for thee and me." Some time later the man returned and knocked on the door again. "Who is it?" said God. "It is I Lord" replied the man. God said "Come in, I bid thee welcome there is plenty of room in here for you and I".

Deep eh?
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Why 'I'?
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