3

I've noticed articles or news stories often use the phrase "[Subject], and You" in titles. I assume the intention here is creating a personal connection with the readers regarding a topic.

For example, there's an article named:

In my opinion, it probably has a similar meaning to the following alternative titles:

  • How Identity Theft and Credit Reports are Relevant to You

  • How Identity Theft and Credit Reports Affect You Personally

  • Why Should You Care About Identity Theft and Credit Reports

However, I found the phrase "[Subject], and You" is widely used for almost everything in news and technical writings, no matter how technical the subject is, and sometimes regardless of whether the article is trying to make this subject in question personal or not.

Examples include:

  • Jobs, robots, capitalism, inequality and you

  • High-Fidelity Digital Music, Tidal, and You

  • The Black Swan and You

  • Diffie-Hellman, discrete logs, the NSA, and you

  • Steampunk, Progress, and You

  • NoSQL, Heroku, and You

  • Unicode, Perl 6, and You

Clearly, the phrase "[Subject], and You" is a cliché in titles. And to me, some usages of this cliché may be intentional, possibly for humorous effects when combining them with a bunch of word salad or technical jargon.

My question is: What is the origin, history and evolution of this cliché? How long has the phrase been used in English? Can you cite relevant linguistic and etymological references and sources? I tried to search it online but found it's not easy to find titles with an incomplete phrase. Thanks!

2

I ran a title search for "and You" in the Hathi Trust database of books and periodicals that turned up no relevant matches before 1910. In the period from 1910 to 1950, however, dozens of titles used this form. Here is a year-by-year list of confirmed titles from this period:

1910

"For Killarney and You"

1912

Your Neighbor and You

1915

"The Night, the Stars and You"

1917

"Our Army and Navy and You"

1918

"The Soldier, 'Uncle Sam,' and You"

1919

Your Neighbor and You

1920

"Profitism, Slackism and You"

1925

"Your Community and You" [text not viewable]

Your Voice and You [text not viewable]

1926

"Your Bank and You"

Your Foods and You [text not viewable]

1927

The Law of Life and You

Your School and You

1928

Your Heart and You [text not viewable]

1932

Your Name and You

1937

Germany and You [text not viewable]

1938

College and You [text not viewable]

High School and You [text not viewable]

Trochus and You [text not viewable]

Your Automobile and You [text not viewable]

1939

Chemistry and You [text not viewable]

Chemistry and You in the Laboratory [text not viewable]

Tomorrow and You

Your Government and You [text not viewable]

1940

Books and You [text not viewable]

Germany and You [text not viewable]

Tomorrow and You

1941

"The Army and You"

Books, Libraries and You [text not viewable]

The Child and You [text not viewable]

1942

"The Army and You"

"Radio, Your Station and You" [text not viewable]

"X-Rays and You" [text not viewable]

Your Home and You [text not viewable]

1943

"Congress and You"

1944

Art, the Critics, and You

"The Library of Congress ... and You"

"NBC and You" [text not viewable]

1945

"Co-operation in Scotland—and You" [text not viewable]

The Co-ops and You

India and You [text not viewable]

The New Malaya and You [text not viewable]

1946

"Jews and You"

1947

Chemistry and You [text not viewable]

Plastics and You [text not viewable]

"UNESCO and You"

1948

Art, the Critics, and You

"Children and You"

Costume and You [text not viewable]

"Fatima and You" [text not viewable]

Pictures, Painters and You [text not viewable]

Science and You [text not viewable]

The Twelve and You [text not viewable]

"UNESCO and You"

We Danes—and You [text not viewable]

1949

The Age and You [text not viewable]

Books, Libraries and You [text not viewable]

Chemistry and You [text not viewable]

"Money and You"

1950

Books and You [text not viewable]

Children and You [text not viewable]

"The Isms and You" [text not viewable]

"The Coal Miners and You" [text not viewable]

The Plan to Enslave Congress and You [text not viewable]

The "and You" totals break down by decade as follows: six titles during the 1910s, eight titles during the 1920s, ten titles during the 1930s (eight of those in 1938 and 1939), thirty-five titles during the 1940s, and five titles during 1950.

Of the titles from the 1910s, two are popular song titles, one is a religious tract (published twice during the decade), and two are pamphlets relating to military service. In subsequent decades, many of the titles address civics/citizenship topics, educational concerns, or how-to subjects. At least two recurring titles——Germany and You and Books, Libraries and You—were the names of periodicals that ran for a number of years. Some of the later titles suggest proto-self-help content.

I can't tell whether any particular title created popular enthusiasm for the "and You" formulation, but the two military pamphlets that appeared in 1917 and 1918, as the United States entered World War I, were likely presented to and read by a huge number of people. "Our Army, Navy and You" (1917) was a nine-page booklet published by the American Red Cross and consisting of exhortations to sacrifice willingly to the war effort, along with patriotic messages from famous Americans and various bits of anti-German propaganda.

"The Soldier, 'Uncle Sam,' and You" (1918) was a 16-page publication of the Social Hygiene Division of the Commission on Training Camp Activities of the U.S. War Department, concerned primarily with minimizing the spread of venereal disease among the troops. I suspect that every soldier and sailor in the U.S. army and navy received a copy of this pamphlet during basic training. It is thus possible that this title was one of the first to achieve truly mass readership, encouraging the flood of "and You" titles that continues to this day.

  • Eyeopening! I've never imagined it was connected to World War II pamphlets. Thanks. – 比尔盖子 Jun 27 at 9:53
  • I think that's World War I – BoldBen Jun 27 at 15:46
  • @BoldBen: Definitely World War I for the 1917 and 1918 pamphlets, but there is a strong echo of those earlier pamphlets in "The Army and You," a pamphlet issued to new soldiers in 1941 and 1942 (at least) in the run-up to U.S. involvement in World War II. – Sven Yargs Jun 27 at 16:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.