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This question deals with the use of y’all in written vs. spoken English, gender neutrality and group dynamics.

I often find myself writing emails to a group of both men and women asking if they would like to participate in some event, as in:

Would y’all like to join me for a hike this weekend?

A lot of my peers would ask:

Would you guys like to join me for a hike this weekend?

Despite “guys” being somewhat accepted as applying to men and women, it really isn’t gender-neutral in my head and truly annoys some of my friends.

I spent some time in Texas as a kid and picked up “y’all” which I have no qualms about using in speech. However, in writing it irks me.

Other possible options include:

Would anyone like to join me for a hike this weekend?

But “anyone” seems to have a defeated and/or annoyed connotation, as in:

Would anyone like to do the dishes tonight?

“Everyone” doesn’t work because a subset of the group would be perfectly acceptable, if not preferred. There's also “who of you” and “would any of you” but they sound too formal and again defeated, respectively.

Thus, I’m looking for suggestions on how you would ask a group of your friends if they wanted to go hiking with you this weekend.

I feel the need to add that I’m in my 20s and thus do need to be using younger/more hip vocabulary. If I were 70 and inviting my retired friends to tea, I believe the answer would be slightly different.

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    How about "Who's joining me for a hike this weekend?" – oerkelens Oct 8 '14 at 18:15
  • Thanks for the quick reply! This seems a little terse, I could see this working in a meeting with people but less so in a written invitation. I could see "Who's interested in joining me for a hike this weekend?" although this is ambiguous and non-committal, if someone replied "I am" I wouldn't know if they're just interested or actually free and will be there... – santeko Oct 8 '14 at 18:28
  • Use y'all! It must be propagated to all the dialects to avoid the sexist you guys from spreading. :) In all seriousness, you could go with "Who's up for...?" if you're looking for the younger/hip style. – guifa Oct 8 '14 at 18:33
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    The same ambiguity exists in your original. If someone replied to your "Would y'all like to join me" question with "Yes" it's impossible to say whether they would like to but can't or if they will actually join you. How about "Who would like to join me?" (with same ambiguity as original) Other than that, "guys" in my mind is perfectly fine for addressing a mixed group. I use it with my family, my parents, my coworkers, etc. See: George Jochnowitz: Another View of You Guys – Jim Oct 8 '14 at 18:44
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In my office, emails addressed to groups commonly begin with “Hi all”. That seems like a fine way to establish the audience as the whole group.

After that, you could say “would you like to join me for a hike?”

“You”, after all, isn’t necessarily singular.

Even if people feel like interpreting “you” as singular, they can see that you are addressing the whole group and could interpret this “you” as addressed to each person as an individual.

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If you like using "y'all" when speaking but dislike it in written form, why not split up the contraction to make it the more formal "you all"? E.g. Would you all like to join me for a hike this weekend?

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