“Y’all” vs. “All Y’all”

I am interested to know if any of SDMB people see the distinctions between “y’all” and “all y’all” the same way I see them. I would guess that it varies depending what part of the country you are from. Maybe in some parts of the country there is no distinction. Also, is there a similar relationship between “youse guys” and “all youse guys” or would anyone even use the phrase “all youse guys”? I don’t have a clue.

Imagine a small store in a small town where the owner/cashier knows almost everyone in town. If a lone customer enters the store the owner might greet him or her with, “How are you doing?”, “How are y’all doing?”, or “How are all ya’ll doing?”. If he says “How are you doing?”, he means just the lone customer. If the owner says “How are y’all doing he means the lone customer and the lone customer’s immediate family. (This is sometimes misinterpreted as use of the so-called singular y’all, but my opinion is that use of y’all as singular is always incorrect.) Immediate family might mean spouse and children or it might mean mother, father, and siblings depending on the age and marital status of the customer. If the owner says “How are all y’all doing?” then he means the not only the lone customer’s immediate family but also the lone customer’s extended family such as grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. But “y’all” could mean something slightly different. Suppose there is a factory across the street and many of the factory workers regularly come to the store to buy snacks at break time. If a lone customer that works at the factory comes in the store, then the owner might say “How are y’all doing?” and his intent might be to inquire about the customer and his co-workers at the factory and not the customer’s family.

Now suppose that two or more customers simultaneously enter the store. If the owner greets them with “How are y’all doing?” then he is referring to just the two or more customers in the store. Assuming the two or more customers are related in some way such as being from the same family or co-workers in the factory, then the owner must say “How are all y’all doing?” in order to inquire about the customers’ family or co-workers who are not present. In this circumstance, whether he means immediate family or extended family must be determined from context. If the two or more customers are not related in any way, whether a familial relationship or some other relationship, and the owner greets them with “How are all y’all doing?” then it unclear as to what the owner is asking.

I believe there is another scenario which involves a different distinction between “y’all” and “all y’all.” Imagine a manager at a business instructing a department about the implementation of a new policy. If the manager says “Y’all must comply with the new policy” then he is addressing the department as a whole. But if he says “all y’all must comply with the new policy” then not only is he addressing the entire department but he is also trying to communicate that each and every member of the department must comply with the new policy personally as an individual.

In a previous thread, Beckdawreck expressed what she believes is yet another distinction between “y’all” and “all y’all.” She said that “y’all” would tend to be used in a polite conversation but “all y’all” would tend to be used in a heated conversation. While I have not personally noticed this, I would be very much interested if others could expound upon this.

Moderators: Please delete this post if it is too stupid.

I always figured:

Ye [you] = original second-person plural
You all = more plural
All you all = more more plural
All all you all = more more more plural

Etc :slight_smile:

It’s probably just me but “all y’all” has a subtext of some shit going down.
E.g. “all y’all motherfuckers need to step back right the fuck now”

Y’all - general “everyone”

All y’all - each and every one of y’all, without exception.

I live in Alabama and I think this is what most folks down here would interpret it as.

Fuck me. Up until just now I thought you were the same Mike.

I have heard, in some contexts, you all = you (definitely plural, i.e., you and your group); all you all = each and every last one of you.

Then there is the possessive: “All y’all’s”.

This is interesting. Could it mean two different things depending on context? Say I referred to “all y’all’s dogs” dogs. Do I mean dogs belonging not only to your immediate family but also dogs belonging to your extended family? Or do I mean every single, cottonpicking dog that belongs to your immediate family?

I was born a “Yinz” and “yinz guys” speaker and I’ll…well…dunno that I’ll die one since I rarely say it anymore. Though it certainly slips out every now and then.

Don’t forget “you lot” :slight_smile:

Oops! There is one too many “dogs” in this post. Can you find it?

This is correct.

I have only once or twice in my life heard “all y’all” in the wild. It was always in the context of a comparison, “all [of them]” vs “all of y’all.” So it might be something like, “All the Yankees manage to go to school in the snow, so why can’t all of ya’ll do it?” It would actually be more correct to say “. . . why can’t y’all do it?” but symmetry sometimes beckons.

In the context I think Beck was referring to, I have heard “I want every one of y’all out of here right now.” Which is a case where I could see someone saying " . . .all of y’all out of here. . ." It would mean the same thing.

But in my neck of the woods, “y’all” is never singular, and is plenty plural enough on its own for everyday use.

I hear “y’all” often enough, including the less-than-mythical singular “y’all”. (And a ton of filler "y’all"s.) But I’m not sure if I have heard an “all y’all”. I’ll keep an eye (?) out for it.

To me, it seems like filler. So a filler “y’all” with an “all” attached is doubly filling? Like a Varsity chili dog with a Krispy Kreme on it?

“you” is singular, “y’all” is plural, “all y’all” is emphatic.

My grandmother was originally from Arkansas, but had been “contaminated” by many years in California. I never heard he use “y’all” or “all y’all” in any context, but she did use “ye.”

When we lived in Kentucky, “y’all” was common. By the time we returned to California, I may have had a “y’all” sneak out of my mouth. I was told by a co-worker I did have a twang, but I unconsciously removed it simply by immersing myself back into the accent-less environment that is California.

no sure your age or your grandmothers age, but my grandfather grew up speaking Elizabethan English (thee and thou) from when his parents moved from the Appalachian mountains to Arkansas. your grandmother might have been in the same situation.

Grandma died in 1980, born in 1900.

I’m 67.

It would be interesting to trace her lineage, I don’t think I’ve gone back very far for her.

I’m not a southerner so I just use “you”. But I’ve spent time in the south and my understanding is it works like this.

You - when addressing one person
Y’all - when addressing more than one person
All y’all - when addressing a group of people