y'all

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English[edit]

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Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Contraction of you all.

Pronunciation[edit]

Pronoun[edit]

y'all

  1. (chiefly US, dialect, Southern US) Plural form of you.
    • 1987, Judson D. Hale, The education of a Yankee: an American memoir, page 3:
      Much later, after dozens of the men had come up to me to shake my hand (with both of theirs) and say "Y'all come back soon, hear? ...
    • 2007, Roy Blount, Long time leaving: dispatches from up South, page 117:
      People in the South do indeed seem to be addressing a single person as "y'all." For instance, a restaurant patron might ask a waiter, "What y'all got for dessert tonight?" In that case, "y'all" refers collectively to the people who run the restaurant.
  2. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) (chiefly US, dialect, Southern US, nonstandard) Singular form of you.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The form y'all is heard primarily in the Southern United States, and nationwide in AAVE, while youse is heard in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, particularly Philadelphia.
  • Many Southerners argue that you all or y'all is never properly used in the singular, but only when there is an implied plural (e.g. "you and your team" or "you and your family").
  • Others suggest that you all or y'all is used to address either more than one person, or one person whom the speaker does not know personally or well, or who is much older or as a sign of respect for the person's position or seniority, and that y'all may also be used even for a single person the speaker knows well but in a formal environment such as a classroom or town meeting. This usage would be consistent with the French usage of vous.
  • Notwithstanding its etymology, the all in y'all is merely a plural marker, not a quantifier. Thus, just as us may refer either to some of us or all of us in standard English, y'all may refer either to some of y'all or to all [of] y'all.

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