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Why or why isn't "Some of y'all" grammatically correct?

Example: "Some of y'all have too much free time"

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    'Y'all' is an idiom, a non-standard variant of 'all of you'. As an idiom, it won't go through every hoop one might expect it to. Just like 'Some of all of you', the twinning of quantifiers is very dubious (perhaps other than in logic formulations, again not standard English usage). But see the Wiktionary article, which claims 'Y'all' has become unitary enough to be judged not to retain the quantifier property (though it gives caveats on how it should be used). Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 14:58
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    How about all of y'all, or quite a few of y'all, or actually, not that many of y'all? Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 15:18
  • Can you say where you saw this sentence? Was it a particular person, something you read, or something you realized that you yourself was saying?
    – Mitch
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 15:00

4 Answers 4

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Basically "y'all" is just a casual, familiar term for "you", so "some of y'all" is essentially the same as "some of you".

(And, per livresque's comment, it should be noted that "y'all" is normally considered plural. For this reason it's somewhat useful in conversation, as it makes it clearer that the associated context is being addressed to a group, and not just to an individual. This no doubt is a big reason for the term's persistence.)

"Y'all" is normally, in the US, considered a "rural" usage, and it's used in country music (such as Y'all Come and movies/shows (such as the Beverly Hillbillies) that portray rural characters. However, since it's considered "illiterate" it's passing out of fashion.

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    "Y'all" is super fashionable in areas of the US South where its use is considered a tip of the hat to Southern pride. My Atlanta neighborhood is nicknamed Vahi and signs sprung up this summer in random yards that said "VAHI Y'ALL!".
    – Willk
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 16:41
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    Please note that y'all is plural before "rural" (and Southern AmE before that), which is why "some of y'all" works. The question is not about fashion trends but will invite them now (see comment from Atlanta). Across the US, y'all is used in AAVE and heavily featured in English language pop music including rap, hip hop, and R&B, not just country music. If anything, "y'all" is seeing an uptick in fashion lately because it is an inclusive pronoun, no pun left behind. It is reductive to say it's just a "rural" or "illiterate" second person plural. Respectfully commenting, no DV.
    – livresque
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 5:51
  • "Y'all" should be considered predominantly 'rural' usage. It is everyday use (but not universal or even majority) by every geography in the south (except maybe southern Florida), (urban, rural, suburban), every socioeconomic group (rich poor) , and also AAE in not just the south. The only situation it is less frequently used is in formal registers (newspaper, news presenters, speeches, academia, school teachers, law). There is both a trend in the south to drop southernisms like 'y'all', but also a trend by some to embrace it. It is definitely -not- restricted to rural speakers.
    – Mitch
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 15:13
  • There are several other local second-person-plural pronouns in the US; I would imagine there are plenty more in UK dialects. In many places people use [yɨnz] or ['yuənz] where Southerners might use [yɔl]. Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 15:19
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In Britain we never use y'all (unless we are imitating a Southern American accent).

However, in Britain, it is perfectly idiomatic to say, for instance:

Are you all going to the party? (this makes it clear that we are speaking to everyone present and not to just one person)

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"Y'all" is not a vocabulary item in in standard Modern English. But it is a term in the 'southern' US states and AAE (African-American English).

'Grammatical' can mean two things: 'Does it fit a regular pattern in a given context?' and 'Is it socially acceptable?'.

Ending sentences with a preposition is considered socially unacceptable in formal writing, but when we speak we do it all the time.

Using "y'all" as a second person plural is not used in standard English, but is perfectly grammatical (rule-based) as used in varieties of English spoken towards the southern states of the US.

So your fragment

Some of y'all

is perfectly fine in Southern American English. It is not part of standard US English but is perfectly well understood by speakers out side of the south.

Of course there is no essentialism and all concepts are fuzzy near the edges.

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Y'all is a dialectal form of a second-person plural pronoun. Therefore,

Some of y'all have too much free time

is as grammatical as

Some of us have too much free time

or

Some of them have too much free time

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