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September 29, 2004

We - the not royal kind

Two things. First:

Y'all. It's a Southern colloquialism. If you use it up north, and you're not, say, a rapper, people will make fun of you. But really, it's a useful word. It's a plural form for you. Proper English has no such pronoun. French has vous for its second person plural (and it doubles for the formal you, which, in all honesty, seems to me a bit dated). I'm sure other languages have equivalents. There's no reason English shouldn't. Y'all: Use it unabashedly.

And let's talk about 'we' for a second. It has two meanings: 'You and I,' and 'They and I.' Frankly, these two meanings are disparate enough that they should have two different words.

Imagine me in high school, approaching two friends. "We need to talk," says one of them. I pull up a chair. "What do you want to talk about?" The two friends smirk. "I meant we, us, not we you." A different pronoun would have saved me that scarring embarrassment.

I'm just saying.

Posted by Will at September 29, 2004 6:34 AM


to make matters more complicated, there's the grammatical SUPER plural form of y'all: you all!

Posted by: michelle at October 1, 2004 11:08 PM

No reason to worry about TrimSpa ads. Anyone who would buy "SuckerSpa" may noy be too bright anyway!

Posted by: Paul at May 1, 2005 9:12 PM

"Y'all" is a nice way to include everyone into the statement. "You" is somewhat generic and is both singular and plural. There is nothing wrong with being a little warmer and specific by using "y'all".

Posted by: last voice of reason at July 30, 2005 12:42 AM

I'm a fan of y'all, especially compared to the unfortunate Pittsburgh-specific second person plural: you'ns (pronounced "yinz")

Happy Birthday Diogenesclub!

Posted by: diana at September 29, 2009 5:30 PM

I realize this is an old post, but i am surprised no one has brought up the singular and plural forms of "y'all" I moved to Texas several years ago and while prepared for the "y'all" i soon discovered the plural form "all y'all" which is meant to refer to "just about everyone" in addition, "y'all" may in some contexts refer to a single person.

Posted by: DSCarmon at November 11, 2009 3:10 PM