25 April 2010

Tea Party mocker misspells "y'all"

Huffington Post has a gallery of what they call "fake teabagger signs," where I found the one above.  He was trying to cite a common meme from a Maury Povitch show, but misplaced his apostrophe.  "Y'all" is an abbreviation for "you all," but he seems to have confused it with "you'll" and "they'll."

Academics argue whether the "you" in "y'all" is implicitly plural.  Some say it is, but when I lived in Texas (and to a lesser extent in Kentucky), "y'all" was often used when addressing a single person.  When addressing a group and intending to address all of them, the term would be modified to "all y'all."


  1. I'm tied on whether he's misplaced it completely or whether he figured the constituent parts were 'ya' and 'all', in which case the apostrophe could fit in either position, which is at least rational if still wrong.
    I'm no expert on Southern lingo, but 'ya' plural doesn't seem to sit right, which would solve that issue.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is I'd give him full marks for the working and none for the answer.

  2. The way I usually explain the various forms of y'all is that y'all is used as a general group noun. 'Are y'all going to the movie tonight?' meaning 'you and whoever else would be going with you, based on the context of the statement.' However all y'all is a plural that indicates each individual in a group. 'Do all y'all have your books?' meaning 'does every person have his or her own book.' Y'all is sometimes used as a modifier, too - 'Are y'all girls all right?' [is the group okay] vs. 'All y'all jerks can shove off' [each individual can shove off].

    Arkansas born and raised. You can take the girl out the South, but you can't take the South out the girl...

  3. I grew up in central Texas, and when I hear "y'all" as a singular pronoun, it sounds completely wrong to me. I don't ever remember hearing that as a kid.

  4. I spent ten years in Dallas, and I know the phrase "Y'all want another beer?" could be directed to a single person or to a group.

  5. I'd give him a break too, Jamie. You don't see "y'all" spelled out all that often.

  6. Are we sure it wasn't intentional? The first thing I thought when I saw this photo was that he was trying to reference the famous spelling/grammar errors on real tea party signs.

  7. It's spelled 'ya'll' as in 'I'll.'
    Only people from up north spell it 'y'all.'
    I'm from Texas and have some chickens. Therefore, I win this debate.

  8. crait, I suspect neither of us will be able to convince the other that they're wrong, so we'll call this a Mexican stand-off.

    But I do think you must have been reading one of those textbooks approved by a Texas local school board...


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