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5E Mearls' "Firing" tweet

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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
No, we don't.
I have heard southerners (and by "Southerner" I include people as far north as Ohio, because the term is frequently used that far north), use "y'all" as both singular and plural, repeatedly enough that I can't call it accidental. I think it is just eliding to use "y'all" to mean "you", which is used in both singular and plural constructions.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
No, we don't. I suppose sometimes it happens by accident, but Southerners call one person "you," a group of people "y'all," and more than one group of people "all y'all." As in, "You (the person I'm speaking to) really played a great game, I'd like to congratulate y'all (your team) on winning the game, and invite all y'all (everyone at the park) over for the 4th, we're having hot dogs and beer.
Well, a prescriptivist might attempt argue that.

A descriptivist would note that "y'all" has been used as both singular and plural, and is used (even in the South) as a sign of singular formality (cf. tu, vous).

Therefore:

"Did y'all find the steak you wanted?" (A worker at Publix to a single shopper)

"Do y'all wanna go to the movies?" (A person talking to their friends)

"All y'all doing great today?" (A player addressing the stadium)


Singlular (formal), plural, and lots 'o plural.

There's also "y'all" as a marker.

"So, y'all think your midwest teams can beat the S .... E ...... C?" (Southerner to a single Northern fan).

And, outside of the South, just singular.


Language, man. It's hard. All youse guys get it wrong.
 

epithet

Explorer
Interesting that you site none of these "authoritative" sources. Meanwhile, Miriam-Webster, Oxford English Dictionary, Grammarly, the Associated Press, the Chicago Style Guide, and the MLA and APA Style Guides all support the singular they as grammatically correct. I don't doubt that you can find some source here or there that still stubbornly opposes the notion, but the idea that there is anything less than near-consensus on the grammatical correctneas of the singular they is factually wrong. You are wrong.

On another note, justice/oppression/politics have a tremendous impact on language all the time. This should be painfully obvious, at least to anyone living in the US. Just think about what kinds of terms were considered appropriate to refer to certain kinds of people fifty years ago, and how well many of those would play today.

Also, quite frankly, I'm getting a little tired of your condescension and patronizing attitude regarding my personal preference in pronouns.
There is a lot less than "near consensus," especially since many of the sources you rely upon are only blog posts related to a grammar reference and not the reference itself. Regardless, it has become apparent that we can't really talk about this as a grammar issue, because for many of the people in this thread the "singular they" has become an Article of Faith, an expression of a personal ideology. My interest in getting into that quagmire approaches zero.

I'll say this, though: it seems audacious to imply that you're entitled to choose your pronouns while I am not entitled to my attitude. I'm not agreeing with your characterization of my attitude, mind you, but you're mighty bold to think you're in a entitled to scold me for it, whatever my attitude might be.

Y'all can keep trying to save the world with the enlightened use of pronouns, I'm in no position to stop you.
 

bedir than

Explorer
I have heard southerners (and by "Southerner" I include people as far north as Ohio, because the term is frequently used that far north), use "y'all" as both singular and plural, repeatedly enough that I can't call it accidental. I think it is just eliding to use "y'all" to mean "you", which is used in both singular and plural constructions.
I switched to using y'all when I learned Arabic. By using different words for 2nd person individual and plural it aided me in the ability to learn other languages.
*aside: Arabic has a dual form that is used when talking about exactly two subjects.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
I still don't understand why this is debated so hard still. Grammar does matter, despite some of the responses here. Submit a job application with "I can't wait to work for you're company. I've only heard really good things their." Or write a book like that.

And see what happens. Just because lots of people keep messing up grammar doesn't mean it's suddenly acceptable to do.

That being said, "they" for singular isn't as well defined. There are arguments on both sides (like my aforementioned english prof, who used to be the editor for the Washington Times and graduated top of his class at Northwestern School for Journalism (one of the best schools for that subject in the world). I think he has some credibility). But there are arguments on the other side as well. But most importantly in all of this is what is the impact for using "they" in singular if that's what a person wants to be called? No drawbacks at all. Instead, it might make them feel better. So it should be a no brainer. Just use it. It might take a little getting used to for people like me who write on a daily basis and am used to other ways, but there is no reason not to use it.

Using he/she is not automatically oppression either. It's a natural way of speaking for most people based on language structures. If someone doesn't know what you prefer as a pronoun and uses he/she, that doesn't mean they are oppressing you. They could just not be aware. It's only after being corrected and if they refuse then it makes them a jerk. The other day I went into a bike shop here in Portland and one of the staff had a name tag that said "I prefer 'they'". I found that to be tremendously helpful, otherwise I would have assumed them to be female because they looked female and we naturally use common pronouns without thinking. And I didn't want to offend anyone (who really tries to offend strangers?), so that helped me a lot to avoid using an incorrect pronoun.
 

epithet

Explorer
Something that really irks me (and to which I naturally adapt to switching to singular "they") is when I'm reading out rules for a new board game and the player is constantly referred to as "he". Can't believe that new games still print that (though mostly it's a Euro game it seems, so could be a translator working with a strict grammar book... ;) )

Does anyone else just go "wha...???" when confronted with a rulebook assumption that a player is masculine?
That's not an assumption that the player is masculine. "He" is generic and non-specific in that context, like "mankind."
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
Something that really irks me (and to which I naturally adapt to switching to singular "they") is when I'm reading out rules for a new board game and the player is constantly referred to as "he". Can't believe that new games still print that (though mostly it's a Euro game it seems, so could be a translator working with a strict grammar book... ;) )

Does anyone else just go "wha...???" when confronted with a rulebook assumption that a player is masculine?
About 10 years ago when I became more aware of this issue, I started to change between "he" and "she" randomly in the games I have written. Tried to make them both equal in appearance.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
That's not an assumption that the player is masculine. "He" is generic and non-specific in that context, like "mankind."
It certainly has been, but as time passes it's seeming more and more out of step. Like for the past 40 years...
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
I still don't understand why this is debated so hard still. Grammar does matter, despite some of the responses here. Submit a job application with "I can't wait to work for you're company. I've only heard really good things their." Or write a book like that.
That's not grammar - those are spelling errors and those never look professional :)
 

epithet

Explorer
I have heard southerners (and by "Southerner" I include people as far north as Ohio, because the term is frequently used that far north), use "y'all" as both singular and plural, repeatedly enough that I can't call it accidental. I think it is just eliding to use "y'all" to mean "you", which is used in both singular and plural constructions.
A good friend of mine from Iowa went to school here in Texas and picked up "y'all." She uses it enthusiastically, but not always correctly. I don't know about the "Ohio y'all" but down here, if we say "y'all," we mean more'n just you.
 

epithet

Explorer
It certainly has been, but as time passes it's seeming more and more out of step. Like for the past 40 years...
It might seem out of step for some, I think it is still pretty common for most. I can assure you that 40 years ago (or 30 years ago, or 20) it was standard practice. My memory hasn't deteriorated to the point that I'd have forgotten that.
 

Psyzhran2357

Villager
This whole discussion is bringing back nightmares from my Applied Communications class. I thought I had a talent for copyediting but I got that delusion knocked out of me real quick.

I still have the 17th edition of Chicago sitting on my bookshelf like a brick. I don't think I've ever opened it.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
No, we don't. I suppose sometimes it happens by accident, but Southerners call one person "you," a group of people "y'all," and more than one group of people "all y'all." As in, "You (the person I'm speaking to) really played a great game, I'd like to congratulate y'all (your team) on winning the game, and invite all y'all (everyone at the park) over for the 4th, we're having hot dogs and beer.
A good friend of mine from Iowa went to school here in Texas and picked up "y'all." She uses it enthusiastically, but not always correctly. I don't know about the "Ohio y'all" but down here, if we say "y'all," we mean more'n just you.

....wait a minute. You live in Texas. What do you know about the South?

/ducks
 

epithet

Explorer
... "Did y'all find the steak you wanted?" (A worker at Publix to a single shopper)
...
"So, y'all think your midwest teams can beat the S .... E ...... C?" (Southerner to a single Northern fan).
...
Don't know about Publix, but if the butcher at the H.E.B. said that to me, I'd look around to see who else he was talkin' to.

The second quote, well... the Southerner might be talkin' to a single fan, but the reference is to all misguided fans of midwest teams. That Southerner was politely acknowledging that while the person he was talkin' to might be deluded, it's a common delusion and nothing to feel too terribly ashamed about.
 
Well, a prescriptivist might attempt argue that.

A descriptivist would note that "y'all" has been used as both singular and plural, and is used (even in the South) as a sign of singular formality (cf. tu, vous).

Therefore:

"Did y'all find the steak you wanted?" (A worker at Publix to a single shopper)

"Do y'all wanna go to the movies?" (A person talking to their friends)

"All y'all doing great today?" (A player addressing the stadium)


Singlular (formal), plural, and lots 'o plural.

There's also "y'all" as a marker.

"So, y'all think your midwest teams can beat the S .... E ...... C?" (Southerner to a single Northern fan).

And, outside of the South, just singular.


Language, man. It's hard. All youse guys get it wrong.
I've lived in the South my entire life and I've never really seen this fabeled "singular y'all" out in the wild. If the conversations where it's attributed are taken in context, there is most likely an address of unseen others.
 

Gradine

Archivist
There is a lot less than "near consensus," especially since many of the sources you rely upon are only blog posts related to a grammar reference and not the reference itself. Regardless, it has become apparent that we can't really talk about this as a grammar issue, because for many of the people in this thread the "singular they" has become an Article of Faith, an expression of a personal ideology. My interest in getting into that quagmire approaches zero.
Nice, deflecting and shutting the argument down on your own terms! I hope you enjoy continuing to yell at clouds.

I'll say this, though: it seems audacious to imply that you're entitled to choose your pronouns while I am not entitled to my attitude. I'm not agreeing with your characterization of my attitude, mind you, but you're mighty bold to think you're in a entitled to scold me for it, whatever my attitude might be.
1) I am definitely entitled to choose my own pronouns.
2) You are definitely entitled to your own attitude.
3) I am entitled to call you out on that attitude if it is, in fact, as insulting as it definitely appears to be

Y'all can keep trying to save the world with the enlightened use of pronouns, I'm in no position to stop you.
I will!

Fun Fact: The use of y'all, as a southern colloquium, would get you laughed out of any serious formal or academic written exercise. It is less grammatically correct than the singular they. It's also used as both a singular and plural (I was taught my creole grandmother that "y'all" was strictly singular, and "all y'all" is plural", so...). I'll note that I don't agree with this; I've gone on record in this thread that grammar is often used a political club by elitists to bludgeon people who they think aren't as smart and special and important as they are.

In any case, having fun clutching your pearls over the sheer existential dread that comes from a word in the English language having more than one possible interpretation, I guess.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
I have heard southerners (and by "Southerner" I include people as far north as Ohio, because the term is frequently used that far north), use "y'all" as both singular and plural, repeatedly enough that I can't call it accidental. I think it is just eliding to use "y'all" to mean "you", which is used in both singular and plural constructions.
And the crazy thing is that it's got the word "all" right smack dab in the middle of it. And yet it can, and frequently does mean the singular version of "you".
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
I've lived in the South my entire life and I've never really seen this fabeled "singular y'all" out in the wild. If the conversations where it's attributed are taken in context, there is most likely an address of unseen others.
Like ... the actual South, or the made-up South (aka Texas)?

Because in the actual South, the singular "y'all" occurs.
 
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