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PRONOUNS, PERSONAL. My, mine; thy, thine; difference between

Mine, my. Thine, thy. The two forms, which are interchangeable in E. E. both before vowels and consonants, are both used by Shakespeare with little distinction before vowels.

Though there are probably many exceptions, yet the rule appears to be that mine and thine are used where the possessive adjective is to be unemphatic, my and thy in other cases.

Mine is thus used before words to which it is so frequently prefixed as to become almost a part of them, as "mine host" (M. W. of W. i. 3. 1), but my in the less common

“Unto my hostess of the tavern.

So we have almost always "mine honour," the emphatic

“By my honour
He shall depart untouched,

being an exception. Mine is almost always found before "eye," "ear," &c. where no emphasis is intended. But where there is antithesis we have my, thy:

“My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye.

and also in the emphatic

“To follow me and praise my eyes and face.

Euphony would dictate this distinction. The pause which we are obliged to make between my, thy, and a following vowel, serves for a kind of emphasis. On the other hand, mine, pronounced "min," glides easily and unemphatically on to the following vowel.

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