The Participation Blog

A Thought for All Y’all

Many moons ago, and in a different life, I lived in Arkansas. For a born and bred upper Midwesterner, it was a little bit of culture shock. I remember fondly my first grit(s), my first glass of sweet-tea, and most of all, I learned that genteel way of insulting anyone by simply adding “… bless your/his/her heart” to any disparaging statement. For example: “He (or insert the name of whomever you choose to denigrate, like, for instance … Roger Stone) is clearly a loathsome, lying, steaming pile of cow pie, bless his heart.” I love the South. But by far the most useful linguistic thing I learned to use was the sheer elegance and beauty of “y’all.” Now, I’d grown up in the land of “you guys,” and I’d spent time with people who used “youse,” and had even heard “you uns” on an occasion or two. But I learned to love the inclusive nature of the pluralized “you” and all that it implies. And I hope that not just y’all agree but all y’all.