Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Regarding The Elephant In The Room

Ok, please read the title of this blogpost out loud. Thank you. Did you say 
the elephant  with a thee, or a ther 
[rhyming with he or her
When I was at school, we were taught that before a vowel, one should always say thee and it sounded a bit like an extra y - the yapple, the yumbrella, the yorange etc]
But lately, I have been aware of so many TV presenters saying ther.  It just sounds wrong to me!
I am clearly getting very old.
On Radio 4, I am relieved to hear David Mitchell still presenting Thee Unbelievable Truth. I cannot comment on The Archers, aka The Ambridge Saga, as I have given up listening!
I've certainly been teaching Rosie the 'old' style. But we still cannot get her to distinguish between "Say it out loud" and "Say it loudly" She thinks that both are an instruction to use a Playground Voice!

Am I being over pedantic?
What is the answer?


  1. Never heard of thee before a word beginning with a vowel. So THE elephant in the room sounds right to me. Yet oddly THEE Unbelievable Truth sounds right too.
    So the answer is ....No Idea!

  2. As I'm not a native English speaker, I was taught to say "thee" before vowel, It was one of the easy rules, and maybe one of the few I remember... My children use both, and it annoyes me.

  3. I agree with you on the pronunciation of "the" but to me it just comes naturally I don't think about it. I can see that a small child would get confused with the difference between loudly and out loud and if you think about it out loud is not loud at all!

  4. I said "thee" but the distinction between thee and ther in different circumstances hadn't occurred to me, nor do I recall being taught a rule for it. I don't think its pedantic; its an interesting observation. So long as you resist the impulse to 'correct' people mid-conversation! When I was young I had difficulties with three which came out as free.

  5. Always said thee, but without really thinking about it. TV announcers are getting more and more sloppy in their pronunciation.

  6. I'm in the thee camp too. The one that always annoys me is announcers saying ad-ver-TIZE-ment rather than ad-vertis-mnt. But then I still get quite excited about the use of who and whom!

  7. I've never heard of using thee before a vowel - as Sue from Suffolk said -it's THE to me.

  8. I'm with you Angela, but we were born in the same year!The young teachers at SL always!asked Angela Smith or me for grammar guidance.....

    1. I remember that - I always felt that grammar rules had got lost in the rush to include "fronted adverbial" in every piece of writing!

  9. I don't think it was ever taught, it just came naturally.

  10. Definitely thee before a vowel and ther otherwise.
    Queens English down the drain.


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