|Look up you in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|This article needs additional or better citations for verification. (January 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
The pronoun you is the second-person personal pronoun, both singular and plural, and both nominative and oblique case in Modern English. The oblique (objective) form, you, functioned previously in the roles of both accusative and dative, as well as all instances following a preposition. The possessive forms of you are your (used before a noun) and yours (used in place of a noun). The reflexive forms are yourself (singular) and yourselves (plural).
|Person (gender)||Subject||Object||Dependent Possessive||Independent Possessive||Reflexive|
|Look up yours, your, you're, or you'll in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
In standard English, you is both singular and plural; it always takes a verb form that originally marked the word as plural, (i.e. you are, in common with we are and they are). This was not always so. Early Modern English distinguished between the plural ye and the singular thou. As in many other European languages, English at the time had a T–V distinction, which made the plural forms more respectful and deferential; they were used to address strangers and social superiors. This distinction ultimately led to familiar thou becoming obsolete in modern English, although it persists in some rural English dialects. Because thou is now seen primarily in literary sources such as the King James Bible (often directed to God, who is traditionally addressed in the familiar) or Shakespeare (often in dramatic dialogues, e.g. "Wherefore art thou Romeo?"), it is now widely perceived as more formal, rather than familiar. Although the other forms for the plural second-person pronoun are now used for the singular second-person pronoun in modern English, the plural reflexive form "yourselves" is not used for the singular; instead "yourself" is used for the singular second-person reflexive pronoun.
Informal plural forms
Although there is some dialectal retention of the original plural ye and the original singular thou, most English-speaking groups have lost the original forms. Because of the loss of the original singular-plural distinction, many English dialects belonging to this group have innovated new plural forms of the second person pronoun. Examples of such pronouns sometimes seen and heard include:
- y'all, or you all – southern United States, African American Vernacular English, the Abaco Islands, St. Helena and Tristan da Cunha. Y'all however, is also occasionally used for the second person singular in the North American varieties.
- you guys [ju gajz~juɣajz] – U.S., particularly in the Midwest, Northeast, South Florida and West Coast; Canada, Australia. Used regardless of the genders of those referred to
- you lot – UK, Palmerston Island
- you-all, all-you – Caribbean English, Saba
- a(ll)-yo-dis – Guyana
- among(st)-you – Carriacou, Grenada, Guyana, Utila
- wunna – Barbados 
- yinna – Bahamas
- unu/oona – Jamaica, Belize, Cayman Islands, Barbados, San Salvador Island
- yous(e) – Ireland, Tyneside, Merseyside, Central Scotland, Australia, Falkland Islands, New Zealand, Rural Canada
- yous(e) guys – in the U.S., particularly in New York City region, Philadelphia, Northeastern Pennsylvania, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan;
- you-uns/yinz – Western Pennsylvania, The Ozarks, The Appalachians
- ye/yee/yees/yiz – Ireland, Tyneside, Newfoundland and Labrador
Although these plurals are used in daily speech, they are not always considered acceptable in formal writing situations.
Third person usage
You is usually a second person pronoun. In formal written English, the indefinite pronoun one can be used in the third person to refer to an indeterminate person. However, English speakers usually use you.
- Example: "One cannot learn English in a day" or "You cannot learn English in a day".
You is derived from Old English ge or ȝe (both pronounced roughly like Modern English yea), which was the old nominative case form of the pronoun, and eow, which was the old accusative case form of the pronoun. In Middle English the nominative case became ye, and the oblique case (formed by the merger of the accusative case and the former dative case) was you. In early Modern English either the nominative or the accusative form had been generalized in most dialects. Most generalized you; some dialects in the north of England and Scotland generalized ye, or use ye as a clipped or clitic form of the pronoun.
The specific form of this pronoun can be derived from Proto-Indo-European *yū(H)s (2nd plural nominative). It is most widespread in the Germanic languages, but has cognates in other branches of Indo-European languages such as Ved. yūyám, Av. yūš, Gk. humeis, Toch. yas/yes, Arm. dzez/dzez/cez, OPruss. ioūs, Lith. jūs, Ltv. jūs, Alb. juve, ju. In other Indo-European languages the form derived from *wō̆s (second person plural oblique) began to prevail: Lat. vōs, Pol. wy, Russ. вы [vy].
In the early days of the printing press, the letter y was used in place of the thorn (þ), so many modern instances of "ye" (such as in "Ye Olde Shoppe") are in fact examples of "the" (definite article) and not of "you". This use of letters in printing may have indirectly helped contribute to the displacement of thou by you, and the use of you in the nominative case.
- Rios, Delia M (2004-06-01). "'You-guys': It riles Miss Manners and other purists, but for most it adds color to language landscape". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2007-03-30.
- Schreier, Daniel; Trudgill, Peter; Schneider, Edgar W.; Williams, Jeffrey P., eds. (2013). The Lesser-Known Varieties of English: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781139487412.
- Jochnowitz, George (1984). "Another View of You Guys". American Speech. 58 (1): 68–70. JSTOR 454759. doi:10.2307/454759.
- Finegan, Edward (2011). Language: Its Structure and Use. Wadsworth Publishing Co Inc p. 489. ISBN 978-0495900412
- Williams, Jeffrey P.; Schneider, Edgar W.; Trudgill, Peter; Schreier, Daniel, eds. (2015). Further Studies in the Lesser-Known Varieties of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-02120-4.
- Allsopp, Richard (2003) . Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage. Kingston: The University of the West Indies Press. ISBN 978-976-640-145-0.
- Dolan, T. P. (2006). A Dictionary of Hiberno-English. Gill & Macmillan. p. 26. ISBN 978-0717140398
- Wales, Katie (1996). Personal Pronouns in Present-Day English. Cambridge University Press. p. 76. ISBN 978-0521471022
- Kortmann, Bernd; Upton, Clive (2008). Varieties of English: The British Isles. Mouton de Gruyter. p. 378. ISBN 978-3110196351
- Taavitsainen, Irma; Jucker, Andreas H. (2003). Diachronic Perspectives on Address Term Systems. John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 351. ISBN 978-9027253484
- Butler, Susan. "Pluralising 'you' to 'youse'". www.macquariedictionary.com.au. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
- Rehder, John B. (2004). Appalachian folkways. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-7879-4. OCLC 52886851.
- Howe, Stephen (1996). The Personal Pronouns in the Germanic Languages: A Study of Personal Morphology and Change in the Germanic Languages from the First Records to the Present Day. p. 174. Walter de Gruyter & Co. ISBN 978-3110146363
- Graddol, David et al. (1996). English History, Diversity and Change. Routledge. p. 244. ISBN 978-0415131186