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PRONOUNS, PERSONAL. His for 's

His was sometimes used, by mistake, for 's, the sign of the possessive case, particularly after a proper name, and with especial frequency when the name ends in s. This mistake arose in very early times. The possessive inflection 's (like the dative plural inflection um) was separated by scribes from its noun. Hence after the feminine name "Guinivere," we have in the later text of LAYAMON, ii. 511, "for Gwenayfer his love." The h is no more a necessary part of this separate inflection than it is of "his," the third pers. sing. indic. pres. of "beon" ("be"). "His" is constantly found for "is" in Layamon. No doubt the coincidence in sound between the inflection 's and the possessive "his" made the separation seem more natural, and eventually confused 's with his. “Mars his sword . . . nor Neptune's trident nor Apollo's bow.” B. J. Cy.'s Rev. i. 1. Also, by analogy, “Pallas her glass.” BACON, Adv. of L. 278.

This is more common with monosyllables than with dissyllables, as the 's in a dissyllable is necessarily almost mute. Thus

“The count his gallies.

“Mars his true moving.

So Tr. and Cr. iv. 5. 176, 255, &c.

“Charles his gleeks.

but never, or very rarely, "Phœbus his."

The possessive inflection in dissyllables ending in a sibilant sound is often expressed neither in writing nor in pronunciation.

“Marry, my uncle Clarence (Folio) angry ghost.

; ii. 1. 137.

“For justice sake.

“At every sentence end.

"Lewis" is a monosyllable in

“King Lewis his satisfaction all appear.

His is used like "hic" (in the antithesis between "hic . . . ille").

“Desire his (this one's) jewels and this other's house.1

; M. of V. iii. 2. 54-5; Sonn. xxix. 5, 6.

This explains

“And, at our stamp, here o'er and o'er one falls:
He murder cries, and help from Athens calls.

His, being the old genitive of it, is almost always used for its.

1

Condemning some to death, and some to exile;
Ransoming him, or pitying, threatening the other.

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