Middle Egyptian (eventually) had the following types of personal pronouns:
This page will provide the forms of the personal pronouns but will not go into much depth about their use, just providing summary lists of uses for each. They will be explored in more depth in other pages, such as those about nouns (for suffix pronouns as possessives) or adjectival sentences (for dependent pronouns as subjects), for example.
Egyptian also has demonstrative and interrogative pronouns, discussed on the Other Pronouns page.
Note about Dual forms
Of all the types of pronouns in Middle Egyptian, the only ones with well-attested dual forms seem to be the suffix pronouns, and that only in formal texts, especially religious ones. For all other uses or types of pronouns, the plural form covers the dual as well.
Suffix pronouns are attached to other words and cannot stand alone. Their uses are:
- Subject of a verbal sentence
- Possessive adjective for a noun
- Object of a preposition
- The subject in an adverbial sentence introduced by 𓇋𓅱 jw
Note that the dot (or equals sign in some authors) connecting the suffix pronoun to its main word is purely a modern convention; the Egyptians did not write anything between the word and the pronoun.
|𓀀, 𓇋 1
|𓋴 , 𓊃
- The written form of this pronoun can vary if the speaker is a king 𓀰, a god 𓀭, or a woman or goddess 𓁐.
Dependent pronouns are separate words, but “depend” on some other word in the sentence and cannot stand at the beginning; instead, they attach to the word before them (and its suffix pronoun if it has one). Their uses, and the words they depend on in each, are:
- Direct object of a verb, which may be reflexive; depends from the verb
- Subject of an adverbial sentence; depends from a suitable sentence particle
- Subject of an adjectival sentence; depends from the adjective (in second and third person only)
|ṯn or tn
|𓋴 𓈖𓏥, 𓊃𓈖𓏥
|𓋴𓏭, 𓊃𓏭 sj
|𓋴 𓏏, 𓊃𓏏 st
- Note that there is a 3rd person “common” dependent pronoun. It is usually used for nouns that are not persons (humans or gods), of whichever grammatical gender and whatever number; it is unfortunately not a properly epicene pronoun for people. When a plural, it sometimes is written with the plural strokes.
Independent pronouns do not depend on other words in a sentence and can function as a predicate unto themselves. Their uses are:
- Subject in a sentence with a nominal predicate
- Subject in a sentence with an adjectival predicate (first person only, and uses nominal predicate syntax)
|ntṯn or nttn
|𓈖𓏏𓋴 𓈖𓏥, 𓈖𓏏 𓊃𓈖𓏥
These pronouns begin to appear in Dynasty 17, so while they are used in written Egyptian texts thereafter, they will not be found in texts of the Middle Kingdom. They are used as the subject of adverbial sentences.
|𓋴𓏏, 𓋴 𓏏𓏥