Southern Thing Column

Someone told me saying ‘y’all’ makes me sound uneducated, y’all

Following is an excerpt from this week’s column on The link at the bottom takes you to the full column. I do that because owns the rights to this column and I can’t blog it in its entirety.

I admit it – I’m a y’all-aholic. I like to say it. I like to write it. “Y’all” is one of those things, like sweet tea and nanner pudding, that southerners own. Sure, we let other people borrow it from time-to-time but they can’t lay claim to it. There’s no question who holds the title.

Last week my y’all usage got the smackdown from someone commenting on one of my columns, who wrote: “Using “y’all’ does not equate to humor. It simply makes you sound less educated than you probably are.” In a follow-up comment, he wrote that “y’all” is not even a word, although you can see it right there on the page.

It was time to play hardball, y’all, and go on the defensive.

Sure, “y’all” can sound folksy, which is one reason I use it in my humor columns. It is more conversational and suggests more intimacy (not like that, y’all). It’s not like I’m writing a thesis, or some kind of treatise requiring words like heretofor or fiscal or farfegnugen.

Here are three very good reasons to use “y’all:”

  • The English language has no second-person plural pronoun. Back in the day, and I mean way back, we had ye. So all those little signs you see at Halloween would say, “It’s fall, ye,” and it just doesn’t have the same ring.

Click here to read the full column on

Heyy'all (2)

3 thoughts on “Someone told me saying ‘y’all’ makes me sound uneducated, y’all”

  1. In Kentucky, everybody says it, so it must be a common thing thru all the South. My husband’s two sisters who moved there as adults (they were born and raised in RI, their father came from Kentucky) adopted it, and say it all the time. I think it’s cute. Sometimes people think an accent makes you sound uneducated. There is the “RI accent” which is related to the New York Bronx accent. I’ve had people ask me when I’ve traveled if I’m from New York. If it’s very pronounced (mine isn’t) it does have the effect of making you sound uneducated, unfortunately. We have a lady lawyer and politician with a very heavy one who is very smart, but to be honest, if I sounded like her, I’d take lessons from a voice coach to lose the accent!


  2. Oh, I forgot, in Kentucky there are some words used like Mamaw (grandmother) and Papaw (grandfather) that might be used in other places in the South, but I’m not sure about that.


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