Word Confusion: You and Its Plural

Posted October 5, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

“Oi, you— yes, youse lot — I’m talking to you, y’all” (Rachel Braier)

I couldn’t help it. Braier’s headline was perfect, lol.

It also perfectly points up most of the basic colloquial yous. These are perfect to use in dialogue, but avoid using colloquialisms in more formal writing.

I suspect that “You and Its Plural” will be everchanging as more variations (and regions) show up on how to make a plural pronoun out of you. What about you? Have you experienced variations? Or, perhaps, you know of a geographical area to add?

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

If you found this post on “You and Its Plural” interesting, consider tweeting it to your friends. Subscribe to KD Did It, if you’d like to track this post for future updates.

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You and Its Plural
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Mental Floss; Wikipedia; Grammarphobia
Part of Grammar: Pronoun, second person
Regional Dialect Singular Plural
Basic 1

Particularly in the Midwest, Northeast, South Florida, and West Coast

Objective and subjective
Formal and familiar

you you
you guys (regardless of gender)
Southern U.S. you you-all
you all
y’all (contraction of you-all)

Super Plural: all y’all

Possessive Form: y’all’s

African American English you y’all
you all
Appalachians you y’uns
yinz
you-uns
youns
yuns
yunz
Michigan you yous guys, youse guys (Upper Peninsula)
New York City you yous guys
youse guys
New Jersey you you’s
you’s guys
yous
youse

Super Plural: youse guys

Ohio you 1810:
you-uns
youns
yuns
yunz
Ozarks you y’uns
yinz
you-uns
youns
yuns
yunz
Pennsylvania you yous guys (northeastern Pennsylvania; Philadelphia)
youse guys (northeastern Pennsylvania; Philadelphia)


you-uns (western Pennsylvania)
y’uns (you ones; western Pennsylvania)
yinz (western Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh)


yins (Pittsburgh)
younz (Pittsburgh)
yunz (Pittsburgh)
Old English; archaic 2
Some rural areas
thou 3

subjective case

thee

objective case

ye

subjective case

you

objective case

Foreign Yous Include:
Australian you yees
yeez
yez
yiz
you
you guys
yous
youse
British English one
yin (northern England)
you
you lot
you ones (Chaucer’s day)
yees
yeez
yez
yiz (Liverpool)
yous, youse (Essex, Merseyside)
yins (northern England)
ye, yee, yees, yiz, yous, youse (Tyneside)
Canadian you yees
yeez
yez
yiz (Maritime Provinces)
ye, yee, yees, yiz (Labrador, Newfoundland)
you
you guys
yous, youse (rural Canada)
Caribbean English you all-you
you-all
oona (Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, San Salvador Island)
unu (Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, San Salvador Island)
wunna (Barbados)
yinna (Bahamas)
French Casual: tu
Formal: vous
Casual: on, vous
Formal: vous
German Casual: du
Formal: Sie
Casual: ihr
Formal: Sie
Irish one
yin
you
ye
yee
yees
yins
yiz
yous
youse
Italian Casual: tu
Formal: Lei (began to replace voi in 1500s)
voi (used by inferiors to superiors or children to parents pre-20th century)
Casual: voi
Formal: voi
ancient Roman tu a tutti tu a tutti
New Zealand you yous
youse
Scottish one
yin
you
yins
yous (central Scotland)
youse (central Scotland)
yiz (Glasgow)
South African you yous
youse
Spanish Casual: tu
Formal: usted
Casual: vosotros
Formal: ustedes
Examples:
Gather ye rosebuds, while ye may.

Ye gods!

We beseech thee, O Lord.

“Screw you guys. I’m going home,” Cartman said. South Park

“A third yin owns an antique rare.” – Robert Tannahill, 1807

“You young yins think ye inventit men an’ women.” – William McIlvanney, 1975

Ah, cut it out youse guys…

History of the Word:
1Old English ēow is accusative and dative of .

Related to the Dutch u and the German euch.

2 Old English is of Germanic origin and related to the Dutch gij and the German ihr.

Ye, thou, and thee were popular up until the 14th century when you began to replace them.

By the 17th century, you had become the ordinary second person pronoun for any number and case.

3 Old English thu is of Germanic origin.

Related to German du from an Indo-European root shared by Latin tu.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Crowd of People is Robertgombos own work under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons.


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