Friday, October 5, 2012

31 Days: Day 5 — In which we get our redneck on.

Y'all. I am really excited about today's lesson, because while it's in keeping with our theme of learning (and using—it's not enough just to learn; you've got to USE it!) good grammar, it allows us to hang on to a little bit of our inner Southern charm (also known as redneck).

Now listen, I have nothing against rednecks. Some of my favorite people are rednecks. Occasionally Ben (my husband) likes to get in his 1990 Ford truck—the one that's covered with paint splatters, full of dents from years of hauling firewood, with the windows that are held up by duct tape, no rear view mirror, flopping door panels, and a tailgate that sometimes stays up—and go driving around with his hat pushed back on his head like the rednecks do. All he lacks is the Mossy Oak windshield decal. The kids can always tell when the mood is about to strike because his speech changes ever so slightly.

See the large stack of split logs! becomes 'At's one more pahl-a farwood!

Do you have any idea how hard it is to spell what a redneck says? I'm pretty sure you just have to find a word that sounds like what they're saying. Jeff Foxworthy says the only time you'll hear a redneck use the word mayonnaise in a sentence is when he says, "Mayonnaise a lotta folks at this monster-truck rally!"

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes. Y'all.

Did you know there is a proper way to write y'all?

It's y'all. Y – apostrophe – A – L – L.

Remember back on Day 1 when we talked about the apostrophe in a contraction indicating where the letters were left out of the two words being joined? Go refresh your memory if you need to.

Y'all is a contraction of the words you and all. If you study the words for just a moment, you can see that the o and u are left out when you mash the words together. That means the apostrophe goes after the y and before the all, like this:


Now, I've seen people write ya'll and that just makes no sense. You can't even say that. Go ahead; try it. See how awkward it is? 

Yuh? Ll? 

Even a redneck mouth can't make that sound.

The apostrophe goes between the y and the all.

And while we're on this subject, let it be known that, like its proper English cousin you, y'all can refer to one person, or with the addition of all, it can refer to many (all y'all). It's an all-purpose Southern pronoun. (I am not making this up.) And if you want to argue about it, the Confederacy will gladly rise to the challenge. They're still not over the first fight.

So we have the singular y'all.

We have the plural all y'all.

And to make them possessive, just add apostrophe + s: y'all's and all y'all's.

Now, Sugar, thank you for comin', bless yer heart!

Be thankful ~


Kayla said...

How do you feel about "might could"? We have only lived in the south for 3 years. I was just talking to a teenage friend of my kids who has lived here her whole life. We were talking about proper grammar when you are speaking. In the course of the conversation, I disdainfully said some negative about "might could". She was astonished. "What is wrong with might could?" She went on and on. I lamely finished with something about not talking that way in Minnesota and just left it alone.

Anonymous said...

LOL...I could never write redneck. Great job. I don't know that I'll ever use the word y'all or y'all's, but thanks for letting us know the proper way to do it! I'm from up north and that's pretty much a foreign language. =)

Donna said...

Thank you for the proper spelling of y'all. It's true - thre is no way ya'll could be right, but it's amazing how many of my people spell it that way. Now if I could just get the Boss to say y'all instead of his NY-Ivy-League-college-influenced nonsense. He was born in South Texas, for goodness' sake!

Positively Alene said...

I'm justa crackin' up!!! I'm from Texas and I'm thankful for this lesson. I say and write Y'all ALOT!!! Love your writing style -- seriously! Blessings for your 31 days.

Mike said...


That is a 1996 Ford XLT Lariat, not a 1990. If you care to test my memory on that, I am perfectly willing to win a cheese-steak from my other parent who doesn't trust my memory :D

But hooray for the correct spelling of y'all, y'all.

Nikki said...

Ha, loved it! Now I am fixin' to go make a cup of tea.