Y'all come back now, y'hear?

DISPUTES pop up on alt.usage.english now and then about whether y'all is really used exclusively as a plural in the southern states of the US.
    Those of us from other parts of the world normally have to rely on old US movies for our evidence, but a 1995 thriller by Michael Dibdin, Dark Spectre, (Faber & Faber) has this delightful exchange between a detective, Lamont Lee, and a witness, who says:
"... Someone else takes the guy down, then the other. Exeunt right."
    "I believe the correct word is 'exit'," Lamont observed with a malicious gleam.
    "Then your belief is misplaced, Mr Lee, account of there was two of them. You exit. Y'all exeunt."
All right, so it proves nothing, but it's nice. The British, Aussie and sometimes American version of the plural y'all,which is youse, is sometimes known here as the "Fenech plural" after champion boxer Jeff Fenech, who tends to use it.

Word for Word articles
BrisMail Home