I can tell you who doesn’t know how to use y’all properly–that girl with the long black hair on The X-Factor sure doesn’t. Back at the beginning of their season, she was talking to a contestant–a single, solitary, lone contestant–and called her (singular) y’all.
Um. Never, as in never, ever singular.
She’s not the only one. Pretty much anybody north of Kentucky and west/north of Texas is clueless as to how to use our most favorite word in the South correctly.
Y’all is plural. Y’all is always and forever plural. Y’all can never, never, ever be used in speaking to just one person. The only possible exception to this rule might, and I stress might, be when you have been talking to someone about their (I know the pronoun agreement is wrong) family and you say, “Y’all come to see us sometime.” At that point it is understood that you are referring to said someone and their family.
Normally, y’all is used while speaking to two or more people.
“Y’all come with me.” You would never say this to one person.
“Y’all did good.” Probably talking to a group, but never just one person.
“What are y’all doing?” Probably used in questioning a bunch of suspicious-looking kids.
“How’ve y’all been?” Uttered quite frequently at family reunions.
“Where’ve y’all been?” Parental inquisition directed toward teenagers returning late at night.
“Y’all ready?” It’s time to go, begin, etc.
You get the picture. Notice I didn’t use y’all because you, singular, are reading this right now.
I hope this little tutorial has helped all y’all in blogworld. For a parting thought, I leave with this final question:
Y’all ready for the Alabama-LSU game Saturday? (In this case, y’all includes the whole country.) 😀