Y’all use apostrophes correctly now, y’hear?

Laura sent in this photo (found here) with the comment,

Maybe it’s a failure of my humanity, but the second photo of this news story makes me absolutely twitch.

See also: Ya’ll vs. Y’all

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5 thoughts on “Y’all use apostrophes correctly now, y’hear?

  1. It must be a case of mass apostrophe abuse/mob hysteria. I wonder though, who might the y’all be that they are addressing. On a trip to Texas, I was told that “y’all” is a singular term of address, and that the correct way to address a group is to use “all y’all.”

  2. My wife and I moved to Texas about six weeks ago. I haven’t heard the “singular” use of y’all, yet. We’re from Alabama, and the general use of y’all is to address two or more people (you all). “All y’all” just seems to be a more emphatic way of saying the same thing.

  3. I’ve lived in the SOuth all my life and I can say with absolute certainty that I have NEVER NEVER EVER heard anyone use “y’all” to refer to one person. It is not singular. The ONLY people I’ve heard use this word in the singlular are misguided, ill-meaning Yankees.

    For me to refer to you as “y’all” would be the same as my refering to you as “them.”

    Unless, of couse, someone is using the royal y’all.

  4. Thank you ALL (y’all) for telling everyone that “y’all”, whether misspelled or not, is NEVER used for the singular pronoun. Here’s my e-mail to Dr. Brians, whose site explained the “y’all” thing, but only got it half-right. (I was already a fan of his, btw.)

    Dear Dr. Brians:

    Ever impressed by your “common errors in English” site, I was delighted to be linked to it by http://www.apostropheabuse.com. There is a picture of protesters holding signs which read, “Peace ya’ll”. Hence the link to your site and its entry regarding the correct spelling of “y’all”.

    As a seventh-generation Texan who was raised right, I am compelled to correct your suggestion that “many southern speakers treat it as a singular form and resort to ‘all y’all’ for the plural.” On the contrary, “y’all” is always used as a plural, never as a singular word. “All y’all” refers to a larger group of people, probably more than two or three.

    Here is an example that I actually would say, maybe to my teenage daughter about her group of seven friends:

    “I was only going to take you and one friend, not all of y’all.”

    (Notice my insertion of “of”, rather than the lazier “all y’all”.)

    The singular second-person pronoun is “you”, even in Texas–although I admit that it might sound like “yew”. Thank you for your attention to the matter and thank you, always, for your wonderful site.

  5. Maybe this will help clear up the confusion: the word is y’all, and it is a contraction. It combines the two words YOU and ALL.The apostrophe, therefore, belongs between the y and the a, indicating the omitted letters o and u. Placing the apostrophe anywhere else is nonsensical.

    Y’all is the plural form of you. It means “all of you” or “you all.” Similarly, ustedes is plural and usted is singular in espanol. Unfortunately, the plural form of you in English is also you, so the convenient (and for whatever strange reason, confusing) y’all evolved. It really isn’t that complicated. 🙂

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