Re: "Y'all" is the Southern plural of you

Subject: Re: "Y'all" is the Southern plural of you
From: "Brad Barnes (T)" <blb -at- FORMTEK -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 1995 19:51:19 -0500

> -------------------- ORIGINAL MESSAGE TEXT --------------------
> Tracy asks if English isn't one of the few languages without
> a "you" plural. Someone reminded her of "thou," but there is
> a modern fix: Americans in the South use "you" for singular
> and "you all" for the plural, and for exactly the same
> reasons Germans (help me out here, Alex von Oberen) do -- to
> express respect and not to focus too closely on anyone in
> particular. I was in Savannah once and overheard a woman
> talk with a man she did not know well; she used "you all"
> throughout the conversation in addressing him alone. It
> worked very well as a social distancer, just as it does in
> French or German.

> -------------------- END OF ORIGINAL MESSAGE --------------------

> I lived in the deep south for 5 years and never heard a single person say
> "you all." I heard "y'all" all the time, however -- two very different
> words. "Y'all" is one word and can be used in the singular if the speaker
> does not know whether there any other people involved. It also has a
> possessive form, "y'all's" as in "I thought we were going to y'all's
> house for dinner."

> :-)

> -- Karen
From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=
Hey y'all!

The American Heritage dictionary defines you as "the one or ones being

You can be either singular or plural, unless perhaps you have multiple
personalities in which case you might always be plural. (Gasp! Now I have to
brace myself for the Politically Correct Police! Arrrrrrgh.)

Of course, besides "y'all," let's not forget the regional "youse" and "youses"
still heard in some boroughs of New York and in reruns of All in the Family.


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