pron. Chiefly Southern U.S.
You. Used in addressing two or more people or referring to two or more people, one of whom is addressed.Regional Note:
The single most famous feature of Southern United States dialects is the pronoun y'all,
sometimes heard in its variant you-all. You-all
functions with perfect grammatical regularity as a second person plural pronoun, taking its own possessive you-all's
(or less frequently, your-all's,
where both parts of the word are inflected for possession): You-all's voices sound alike.
Southerners do not, as is sometimes believed, use you-all
for both singular and plural you.
A single person may only be addressed as you-all
if the speaker implies in the reference other persons not present: Did you-all [you and others] have dinner yet? You
preserve the singular/plural distinction that English used to have in thou
the subject forms of singular and plural you,
were the singular and plural object forms). The distinction between singular thou/thee
and plural ye/you
began to blur as early as the 13th century, when the plural form was often used for the singular in formal contexts or to indicate politeness, much as the French use tu
for singular and familiar “you,” and vous
for both plural and polite singular “you.” In English, the object form you
gradually came to be used in subject position as well, so that the four forms thou, thee, ye,
collapsed into one form, you. Thou
were quite rare in educated speech in the 16th century, and they disappeared completely from standard English in the 18th. However, the distinction between singular and plural you
is just as useful as that between other singular and plural pronoun forms, such as I
In addition to y'all,
other forms for plural you
include you-uns, youse,
and you guys
or youse guys. Youse
is common in vernacular varieties in the Northeast, particularly in large cities such as New York and Boston, and is also common in Irish English. You-uns
is found in western Pennsylvania and in the Appalachians and probably reflects the Scotch-Irish roots of many European settlers to these regions. You guys
and youse guys
appear to be newer innovations than the other dialectal forms of plural you.
See Note at you-uns