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How to Use "Y'all" Correctly

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Y'all

No matter how long you've lived in Memphis, you are most likely familiar with this basic southern word, but do you know how to use it correctly?

While "y'all" is actually a contraction for "you all," it is most commonly used in place of the plural form of "you." "All y'all" or "all of y'all," on the other hand, is generally used in place of "you all."

    For example...
  • When speaking to two or three people: "Are y'all going to the movies?"
  • When speaking to several people: "Are all y'all going to the movies?"
Things are further complicated when using the possessive form of the word.

    For example...
  • Is this y'all's car?"
    or
  • "Is this all y'all's favorite color?"
Note, though, that there is some debate on the spelling of the possessive form of y'all. Some will spell it "y'all's" while others will spell it "y'alls." As there does not seem to be an official answer, it is a matter of personal preference.

No matter how long you live here, you can be certain that you will leave with "y'all" firmly embedded in your vocabulary. And everywhere you go, it will be a dead giveaway that you once made your home in the South.

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