Here endeth the lesson

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Writers striving for effect will sometimes attempt to mimic the language of the Authorized Version of the Bible — King James English. This is usually a mistake.

In the first place, writing, say, the Ten Commandments of anything is almost as hackneyed a device as opening an article with "Webster’s defines. …" And tricking out some mundane event with the cadences of the Bible or the Book of Common Prayer is like wearing spats with sneakers. The incongruity is glaring.

But, and this is the main thing, the writer invariably gets the grammar wrong, promiscuously fastening –eth and –st suffixes on any verb form that comes to hand. People who know the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer and Spenser and Shakespeare understand that these archaic forms of speech followed an established grammatical pattern. This is it.

First-person singular: I do

Second-person singular: Thou dost

Third-person singular: He, she or it doeth or doth

First-person plural: We do

Second-person plural: You do

Third-person plural: They do

Imperative: Do it

Now go, and sin no more.