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Difference(s) between '-th' & '-s' Options
meredith zita
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013 6:46:31 AM
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Hi!
I recently saw a magazine headline from SCMP: 'Clothes maketh the man'
It recalls me a question that Bible also uses '-th' in a verb, which is, however, couldn't be found in some dictionaries, so i thought this is an ancient use of '-es/s'.
Am i right? Or does it carry any special meanings with a verb?
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013 7:31:51 AM

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Hi meredith!

It is a very old form - almost the only place you will see it is in some Bibles, and in some dialect phrases.

It is the old third person singular of "do".

I do
thou dost
he/she/it doth
we do
you do
they do


Now, the word 'thou' has become lost and the plural is always used "you do" is both singular and plural - and the word 'doth' has changed to "does".

It still does not make complete sense - because "clothes" is plural - so the saying should be "Clothes make the man.", if you want to say that.

However, the original quotation was from about 650 years ago "Manners maketh Man." - from a bishop called William of Wykeham, and there is an old Scottish proverb:
"Meat feeds, Cloth cleeds(old word for 'covers' or 'clothes'), but Manners makes the Man."

This is particularly saying that clothes do not make the man.

meredith zita
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013 7:50:22 AM
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I got it,DragOnspeaker, thanks.

But in the last sentence, do you mean 'Clothes maketh the man' carries the opposite meaning that clothes do not make the man?
Luftmarque
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013 7:57:34 AM

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meredith zita wrote:
I got it,DragOnspeaker, thanks.
But in the last sentence, do you mean 'Clothes maketh the man' carries the opposite meaning that clothes do not make the man?

And nearly the opposite meaning of "don't judge a book by its cover." In the list of universals of human culture (it's an academic publication based on researching many many cultures and only those characteristics which appear in each and every one studied make it into the list, I read it in Steven Pinker's book The Blank Slate) there is an entry for something like "contradictory proverb pairs." A lot of proverbs can be paired with a "dual" which states exactly the opposite. Something about the brain I suppose…
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013 8:09:48 AM

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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom

I must have a look at that list!

Yes meredith.

"Clothes maketh the man." is saying that the important thing to look at to judge a person's character is his clothes.

"Meat feeds, Cloth cleeds, but Manners makes the Man." is saying that food and clothes are useful, but they do not make up the character of a person. His manners are the important thing.
This is very similar to the "Don't judge a book by its cover" saying.
meredith zita
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013 8:24:02 AM
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oh...I never thought that the headline is so deep!

The article is about fashion design and it affords the values of clothing. Thank you two :)!


So, because of the wordplay, the headline can literally neglect the grammar accuracy? (Since it uses 'maketh' after the plural)
Romany
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013 8:30:15 AM
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Disagree slightly with Drago - or perhaps just expanding on his explanation.

In Old English and even in Early Modern English 'th' was the verb ending rather than 's' which is a relatively new usage.

So: makes, takes, places, does, lies etc. etc. were said and written as maketh, taketh, placeth, doeth, lieth etc. etc.

The plural nouns which today end in 'es' ended once in 'en' or 'ing' (or stayed singular)
Thus shoes were shoen, hose was hosen but clothes were clothing, ropes were roping etc.

But the transition to 'es' with nouns happened slightly before the change to verb endings. The Saint James edition of The Bible was published right in the middle of this transition (change) so a lot of the nouns look just as they do today, while many of the verbs don't.

Thus 'clothes' (which, slightly before 1606 would have been 'clothing') got the new, modern look, while 'makes' remained 'maketh' for about another 150 years.
meredith zita
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013 8:47:57 AM
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Romany, is that why there are some nouns in the form of verb+ing?
Romany
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013 10:58:38 AM
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Meredith - am not sure which you are referring to, but are you quite sure you aren't getting confused with gerunds?

Which nouns did you have in mind?
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