Hey, you guys, we're talking about y'all

Sep 9, 2012

You may have noticed more people are saying “you guys” to refer to just about everyone.

“Some speakers use ‘you guys’ but it depends on where you’re from,"  says Anne Curzan, a professor of English at the University of Michigan, who specializes in linguistics. "Southerners often use ‘y'all,’ which I think is a very useful pronoun. And in Texas, for some speakers, ‘y’all’ has become singular, and the plural is ‘all y’all.’  In parts of the East Coast, you get ‘youz,’ or ‘youz guys.’ In Pittsburgh they have ‘yinz,’ or ‘younz.'"

According to Curzan, some speakers in the 20th and 21st century began to use, “you guys” as a second person plural form.

Listen to the conversation above, with Michigan Radio's Rina Miller and Anne Curzan, to hear about Guy Fawkes' influence on the use of the word “guy,”  a quote from the book Little Women and much more.