WSA: On The Proper Use of “Y’all”

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!  The following is a Writer’s Service Announcement.

Okay, I have seen this often enough lately in my reading that I feel compelled to post about it.  There are two very important things that anyone writing about the South needs to know:

1.  “Y’all” is a contraction of the words “you” and “all”.  Therefore, it is spelled “y’all”.  Never “ya’ll”.  This is blatantly incorrect and immediately marks you as definitely not a southerner and makes you look ignorant to boot.

2.  “Y’all” is never singular.  The book I picked up this morning had the heroine saying “What?  Ya’ll don’t recognize your own sister?” to her brother, who was the only other person present.  See, both rules broken at once.  It looks and sounds ridiculous.  This author has immediately lost credibility for this southerner.  “Y’all” is PLURAL.  You all implies at least 2 people and does not function in the same fashion as the royal “we”.

Thank you.  This has been a Writer’s Service Announcement brought to you by A Field of Paper Flowers.

9 thoughts on “WSA: On The Proper Use of “Y’all”

  1. I have no problem with y’all and use it interchangably with you, but I absolutely can’t stand when people spell or use it incorrectly.

  2. You know, this might be a regional thing. My ex-husband’s family was from a small town in Texas, and they used y’all as singular (and they weren’t transplants — in fact, his parents had never even been out of the county they were born in.) They informed me that plural was “all y’all.”

    My grandpa, from Missouri, used “all y’all” as plural, and y’all as singular, as well. So maybe pockets of people use it differently? *shrugs* I have no idea. I’ve lived in Texas and Mississippi, but still haven’t figured it out! LOL

  3. Okay this is a possibility. I’m a lot less rabid about the plural vs. singular (though I swear it’s got to be plural from a linguistic standpoint) than I am about the spelling.

  4. LOL–I know what you mean! It pretty much has to be plural as it is, right? You all. Makes sense that it should be plural. At some point, in some areas, it must have just sort of mutated… *g*

  5. Ack! I think WP ate my comment, so if this comes through twice, that’s why!

    Anyway, we lived in Ocean Springs. I really liked the area!

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