A Southern contraction for "you all" and the best possible way to express ideas related to Southerners, rural areas, and the Great Republic of Texas.

"Y'all think I could borrow a lil' ol' cup of sugar?"
"Y'all better quit foolin' around in mah beans!"
"Where y'all think y'all are driving so fast on this highway?"
"Ah don't think y'all Yankees know how we do thangs here in Texas!"
"Is that y'all's goat?"

The one exception to absolutely never using "y'all" in the singular form is if you are talking to someone who is a representative of a larger entity. This is absolutely the only acceptable time to use "y'all" when talking to only one person! Otherwise, you use the word "yer" or "you". Incorrect use (or absence) of the word "y'all" in Texas could mean you have seriously insulted someone. Usually in commercial transactions. For instance...

To ask the lady at the cash register of Western Warehouse if the store will be receiving any new Tony Lamas (the only cowboy boots) soon you would say: "'scuse me miss, but when're y'all gettin' some Tony Lamas in?". Because the subject of this sentence is not the cashier, it is that particular store, and all of its included staff. If you were to ask "...when're you getting some Tony Lamas in" she would probably take it as an insult, because you are implying that she herself will be receiving Tony Lamas inside herself... not a very pleasant thought for most people.

But if you wanted to compliment her mullet you would say: "Yer hair sure does look purty today." If you said to her "Y'all's hair sure do look purty today" that would be taken as an insult because the staff of Western Warehouse most likely has some men on its payroll, and if you are in Texas you never tell a man he's pretty unless you're mocking him. And if you mock him, you'll probably find out real quick just when and where you'll get yer Tony Lamas.

Of course, if you're in Texas, there's a good chance that you'll be given a funny look when you say these things, and then answered in Spanish (not a joke, y'all, you don't believe me, then get yer arse down to Texas and try it). So be aware of who your target is. If they speak English, and are "Speaking Texan", then you'd better know proper grammatical usage of "y'all"... or you might end up dying from lead poisoning.

First, let me say that I live in Texas. I don't like it. Let me be clear. I have met some really awesome people here, and Texas has produced some of my favorite things. I don't like Texas; specifically the environment. Compared to what I still claim to be my natural environment, Texas is flat, brown, and with horrendous weather which can be extremely inconsistent from one day to another and nearly devoid of snow.

Most people have an opinion on what the most ugly or repulsive word in the English language is. My top pick is "y'all". And while I know that my dislike of the word is a holdover from the biases of my peer groups during my formative years, as I grew up and learned more, like any reasonable adult, I began to rationalize my hatred.

Let's take a look at the word for a moment.

Y'all: contraction of the words you and all. By definition that would mean that y'all is a second person plural pronoun. I admit that if this was the chief usage of the word, I may be okay with it. However, it has been my repeated experience that contemporary vernacular uses it as:

  • second person singular pronoun: "Jimmy, y'all need to feed the chickens."
  • culturally specific filler word: "Ya'll, I don't know. This chili is a bit light, y'all. What do y'all think?."
  • punctuation: "Cows, y'all!"*

I have spent nearly fifteen years living in Texas. The first five years I couldn't hear or see the word without reflexively grimacing. About three more years before it would pop up in my inner monologue and I wouldn't twitch (even though my train of thought immediately halts when it does). Several more years before I could stutter it out to explain to people why I responded so oddly to what they said. And now even while writing this I've been choking back the bile.

So, yeah.

Fuck y'all!

March of the Critics 2012's first rejected write up!

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