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In American English, quite informally, one will hear different words or phrases for the personal pronoun “you” in its plural form. Perhaps it’s a way of making sure the listener understands you mean second person plural, not singular. Among other words/phrases, some people will say “you all”, “y’all”, “yous”, “yuse”, “yins”, “you guys”, “yumob” in addition to “you”. When there is such a variety of words with the same meaning, there must be a reason why you use one and not the other. Is one’s choice related to:

  • age?
  • region?
  • ethnicity?
  • social status?
  • educational background?

Or could it be that they are really no markers and people will use one word one time, and another word another time, for no evident reason?

  • I think some are regional, for example "y'all" is mostly southern, "yins" is Pittsburgh? – Weather Vane Oct 3 at 19:47
  • Yinz is common (and useful) feature of the Pittsburgh dialect of English. It is used for the plural you just like you all or the Southern English y'all. dictionary.com/e/slang/yinz – user067531 Oct 3 at 19:56
  • Yous(e) as a plural is found mainly in (Northern) England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, northern Nova Scotia, parts of Ontario in Canada and parts of the northeastern United States (especially areas like Boston where there was historically Irish immigration) and in Mexican-American communities in the southwest. It also occurs in Scouse. en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/yous – user067531 Oct 3 at 19:58
2

The following extract shows all main dialectal variants for informal plural forms of you:

Although there is some dialectal retention of the original plural ye and the original singular thou, most English-speaking groups have lost the original forms. Because of the loss of the original singular-plural distinction, many English dialects belonging to this group have innovated new plural forms of the second person pronoun. Examples of such pronouns sometimes seen and heard include:

  • y'all, or you all – southern United States, African American Vernacular English, the Abaco Islands, St. Helena and Tristan da Cunha. Y'all however, is also occasionally used for the second person singular in the North American varieties.

  • you guys [ju gajz~juɣajz] – United States,particularly in the Midwest, Northeast, South Florida and West Coast; Canada, Australia. Gendered usage varies; for mixed groups, "you guys" is nearly always used, though for groups consisting of only women, forms like "you girls" or "you gals" might appear instead, though sometimes "you guys" is used for a group of only women as well.

  • you lot – UK, Palmerston Island, Australia

  • you mob – Australia

  • you-all, all-you – Caribbean English, Saba

  • a(ll)-yo-dis – Guyana

  • among(st)-you – Carriacou, Grenada, Guyana, Utila

  • wunna – Barbados

  • yinna – Bahamas

  • unu/oona – Jamaica, Belize, Cayman Islands, Barbados, San Salvador Island

  • yous(e) – Ireland,Tyneside,Merseyside,Central Scotland, Australia, Falkland Islands,New Zealand,Philadelphia, Rural Canada

  • yous(e) guys – in the United States, particularly in New York City region, Philadelphia, Northeastern Pennsylvania, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan;

  • you-uns, or yinz – Western Pennsylvania, The Ozarks, The Appalachians

  • ye, yee, yees, yiz – Ireland, Tyneside,Newfoundland and Labrador

Although these plurals are used in daily speech, they are not always considered acceptable in formal writing situations.

  • So it's all about region ? – Centaurus Oct 3 at 20:44
  • The regional usage appears to be the main factor, educational background and probably social status may be other relevant aspects. – user067531 Oct 3 at 20:54
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    @Centaurus, there is often more than one dialect spoken in a region. For instance, "yous guys" is not used by all New Yorkers (nor do all New Yorkers have a "New York accent"). New Yorkers belonging to, or trying to sound like they belong to the upper class (or middle class, for that matter) would not say "yous." – Juhasz Oct 3 at 21:46
  • At this point, "thou" looks fairly attractive, doesn't it? – Apollo Oct 31 at 18:59

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