Talk:you guys

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Here is my own personal impression of usage of guy and you guys. Your milage may vary. The upshot is that, as far as I can tell, gender-neutral usage of guy is more restricted than the current entry for guy would suggest.

  • you guys is gender-neutral. I've heard both genders use it to refer to groups of all three possible compositions.
  • you guys may see use as a disambiguator, as in I meant you guys, not you personally.
  • those guys may be gender-neutral, but I'd like to see some definitive attestation.
  • Other usages at least imply a male referent. That is, a "guy" might be female, but the expectation is that it's male. Linguistically, the "unmarked" form is male, particularly if the speaker is male. This would include cases like
    • Who's that guy over there?
    • I just saw some guys come in the back door.
  • Some usages are explicitly male and may not be female, even if the speaker is female:
    • It's a guy thing.
    • What do you expect? They're a bunch of guys.
  • I know of no usages with female referents that cannot also refer to males.

It's the first two points, along with the gender bias of most if not all remaining usages, that leads me to think that you guys has become yet another idiom for the distinct second-person plural missing in standard English. -dmh 17:19, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

yes, I just use 'you all' and 'you folks' myself. I don't think "you folks" deserves an article though. Its not very idiomatic, even if it ain't standard. I guess 'you guys' squeaks in due to the gender issue. --Eean 19:03, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I think there is one more gender neutral usage of guy; bad guy, as in "Don't make me the bad guy!"