The word “y’all” is a logical, natural formation that elegantly fills the lexical gap caused by “you/ye” becoming the primary singular second-person pronoun after the fall of “thou/thee.” It avoids the myriad issuse caused by the term “you guys:” it is more transparently gender-neutral (though “you guys” is admittedly recognized that way in practice), it is one syllable shorter, and it has a more consistant possesive form (“y’all’s” vs. “you guys’s” or “your guys’s,” both of which I’ve heard in use).

To my mind, the only reason to avoid “y’all” is its stigmatization as a regionalism or a colloquialism, which has more to do with societal hangups than anything substantial. I could also see an argument that this would be imposing an American usage on the rest of the English-speaking world, which is much more fair; however, unless Indian English has a better candidate (which it might!), “y’all” seems like the best option.

What do y’all think?


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