Language Guide

The language of the King James Version consists of words and grammatical features that may be unfamiliar to some readers. This page is designed to help such readers by explaining some of the most essential words and features. After reviewing this page, readers should be able to read the King James Version with more ease. There will certainly be more words in the King James Version that readers might not be familiar with, but this page should serve to build that basic foundation to understanding the language.

  Second-person Singular Second-person Plural
Subject Thou
"Peter, thou lovest me."
"Peter and John, ye love me."
Object Thee
"Peter, I love thee."
"Peter and John, I love you."
Possessive Adjective Thy
"Peter, thy family is nice."
"Peter and John, your family is nice."
Possessive Pronoun Thine
"Peter, this family is thine."
"Peter and John, this family is yours."
Words that indicate location and direction
Hence: "from here" Hither: "to here"
Thence: "from there" Thither: "to there"
Whence: "from where" Whither: "to where"
Present tense Past tense
Abide Abode
Beseech: "ask" Besought: "asked"
Bid: "ask" / "invite" Bade: "asked" / "invited"
Let (related to "late"): "delay" Let (related to "late"): "delayed"
List (related to "lust"): "desire" Listed (related to "lusted"): "desired"
Prevent (related to "Advent"): "come before" Prevented (related to "Advent"): "came before"
Quicken: "make alive" Quickened: "made alive"
Shew: "show" Shewed: "showed"
Smite: "strike" Smote: "struck"
Suffer: "allow" Suffered: "allowed"
Wit/Wot (related to "witty"): "know" Wist (related to "wise"): "knew"
Work Wrought: "worked"
Logical Operators
Howbeit ("how be it"): "however"
Wherefore"therefore" or "why therefore" (if used in a sentence that ends with a question mark)
  • Careful: "full of care (i.e. anxious)"
  • Conversation: "conduct"
  • Divers: an old spelling of "diverse"
  • Nigh: "near"
  • Nought: "nothing"
  • Ought (used as pronoun): "anything"
  • Peradventure: "perhaps"
  • Quit yourselves like men: "conduct yourselves like men"
  • Twain: an old word that means "two," used to prevent the hearer from confusing it with "too" (e.g. Mark 10:8 says, "And they twain shall be one flesh. When this verse is spoken, the hearer understands that it says, "they two" rather than "they too.")
  • Will: "want"(e.g. "Not as I will….")
  • Would (in the subjunctive mood): "wish" (e.g. "I would thou wert cold or hot.")
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