59

You and ye used to be the plural forms of the second person pronoun. You was the accusative form, and ye was the nominative form. Because of this, you still conjugates verbs in the plural form even when it is singular; that is, you are is correct even if you is only referring to one person. Thee and thou used to be the singular forms. Thou was the ...


40

Both are fine. However, the first response is the most common way to answer. Very empathetic people might say my mum. Turn the sentence around; would you say "I'd apologize to your mum if I were you" or "I'd apologize to my mum if I were you"? Probably the former. If I were you, I'd... is a common way to give someone advice; it is not meant to be ...


40

It is grammatical, but it is indeed extremely jarring. It is (to me at least) just as jarring (if not more so) to say *Remember me, who is your friend. A much better way to express the idea is to say Remember me, your friend. On what basis do I say that it is grammatical, if it is so jarring? It is usual, in formal English, to make the verb in the ...


28

I think that there is possibly confusion here between may, can and would. It is possible that she once used to say expressions like: Can I have ... Can I get ... and was taught that it was more polite to use may rather than can in that context. Although strictly, can relates to the ability to do something, whereas may concerns permission to do ...


28

I've bundled up my comments into an answer of sorts. (ha, it looks worse than the comments - who chose these colours and fonts?) In British English (or rather in Britain) I've certainly heard aren't we etc used in that way. Whether it is right/proper/by the rules/grammatical/whatever I have no idea . One of us is wrong, aren't we? It's got a question ...


26

You offended your mom. So if I were you, I would apologize to your mom when she gets home. But: You offended my mom. So if I were you, I would apologize to my mom when she gets home.


26

In American Standard English, all of your example sentences sound awkward, bordering on wrong,1 but people will still understand the meaning. The natural way for me to express these statements would be without a question tag at all — here are two variations on each, differing in nuance: Isn’t one of these balls blue? Shouldn’t one of these balls be ...


25

"Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy (your) Name," is the rest of that sentence. By saying "Our Father... Thy..." you are addressing God personally, making that the second person singular (you are). (First person singular: I am. Third person singular: he/she/it is.) "Our Father" is not speaking about God; it is speaking to God. (It is like saying, ...


18

Over the years I've converted to the belief that what is important in language and grammar is that the communication is not unintentionally ambiguous, not that it satisfies any formal criterion. Whether you say your mum or my mum, no one is going to be confused by what you mean. So use whichever feels right to you. Compare to A: I just spent $5 on the ...


17

You is the plural. Thou is the singular form of you. Thou has now disappeared from common use and is used only to address God. The process resulting in the use of the singular pronoun to express intimacy and the plural pronoun to mark respect or social distance is termed T-V_distinction, after the Latin tu and vos and is found is many languages, ...


17

I believe it's called "generic you." From Wikipedia: In English grammar and in particular in casual English, generic you, impersonal you or indefinite you is the pronoun you in its use in referring to an unspecified person, as opposed to its use as the second person pronoun. The generic you is primarily used as a colloquial or less formal ...


17

This is called an impersonal pronoun, and it is equivalent to using one. It is just a convention we have in English that we can use the second person pronoun in this context. Other languages have other conventions for referring to a person as a generic object, and may not use the second person at all.


15

The sentence It is you who are mistaken is a Cleft sentence, derived from the base sentence (shown here with focussed subject You) You are mistaken by the Clefting process, which extracts the focussed NP (you) to be the predicate of a dummy clause with It subject and some form of be as verb (generating It is you in this case), and then making the non-...


12

Formal correctness is the wrong test in this case. The problem is that the referent is ambiguous -- are we speaking from within the conditional, or from outside it? "My mum" is interpreted differently in the two cases, since the meaning of "my" changes. "Your mum" is clear no matter which case one chooses. Whether I am you or not, your mum remains your mum....


12

There is nothing illogical about it at all. It is just misplaced in this particular case. May I is asking for permission while can I is asking whether an action is possible. However, as you can see in the following definitions (both come from the online Merriam Webster, can and may), this distinction between can and may seems to be in the process of ...


11

'You" was originally plural, "thou" was the singular. There was a shift to using the plural as the polite form, eg. monarchs say 'we' for I, so gradually the 'you' plural began to be used by everybody. Exceptions are/were Quakers who stuck to the thee/thou since they didn't recognise anyone as better than each other and people from Yorkshire who didn't ...


11

As a native speaker of American English, One of these balls is blue, aren't they? sounds definitely wrong. My explanation for why it feels wrong is that the core of the subject is One, which is singular. The prepositional phrase of these balls doesn't change the grammatical number of the subject. Compare: Isn't one of these balls blue? = One of ...


8

The part of the sentence offset by commas (the employer) is called an appositive. It gives information about the word "you", but does not take its place as the subject. The word "you" is still the one with which the verb must agree. Hence, the correct choice is the first sentence, You, the employer, contribute the most.


8

The underlying problem with this sort of construction is that we are essentially condensing two sentences into one, and forcing a dual subjective and objective role on the linking word in the ellipted form. I am your friend. Remember me. Remember me, who am your friend. – here, me is the object of the (recommended) remembering, and the at least notional (...


8

In this case, two subjects are connected by 'or', you use the verb form of the subject that is nearest the verb - 'am'. We always get work done, regardless of what mood Bill or I am in. Google 'Subject verb agreement', you can get more detail.


7

With "your mum" it is at least clear whose mum is being referred to - A's. In supposing B is A, it's not clear whether we are also supposing "B's mum" now refers to A's. But "your mum" can only refer to A's mum, since supposing B is A doesn't make A anyone else but A.


7

The main issue here is that the original Greek uses a form that does not exist in English. The relevant portion of the Greek text reads: Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς· Translated directly, word for word, that is: Father ours the one in the heavens. Or, to make it closer to actual English: Our Father, in the heavens. The ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς has no ...


5

How has nobody used the phrases Royal We or Nosism yet? Simply put they mean you can refer to oneself using we. These ideas work in many languages, however in British its use can be bastardised to add sarcasm to patronisingly or disdainfully refer to the second party. This is often accompanied by a difference in authority between the two parties, said by the ...


5

As this is a very broad question whose full answer merits several written books, I first present a brief orientation and outline of how we got here today, with pointers to more detailed material. Closely related to this question are questions like these, some of which you may have actually been asking about indirectly: Why is it ‑s not ‑xyzzy or ‑...


4

Since me is undoubtedly the first person singular, the verb to go with it has to be am. So yes, jarring though it is, the phrase is correct. I think the unusual part of the phrase is that me, though the object of the sentence, is the subject of the subordinate clause, and the reader naturally tries to read to be as the main verb.


4

OP's example: It is you who has/have taken the garbage out. Issues involving personal pronouns that are the antecedent for a relative clause, such as in an it-cleft, are sometimes not so simple--that is, they can sometimes be notoriously unclear. There are well-known types of examples where such difficulties show up, such as: I saw he/him who would soon ...


4

If I had to add a question tag to the first example, I would've said: One of us is wrong, isn't that so? Is that so Is what you said correct? (With rising question intonation.) It's grammatical, it's not clumsy and it sounds natural to my ear. As Frank mentioned in his answer, it still retains a sarcastic, rhetorical edge to it, as if challenging the ...


3

If you were me, you'd answer your question thusly: "My mom" is grammatically correct -- I ... my. As to which one is clearer to the listener, depends on the context. If there were possible ambiguity as to whether your mom or my mom potentially deserved an apology, "your" removes any such ambiguity. Having had 2 parents with English PhDs, one an English ...


3

Definitely, "If I were you, I'd apologise to my mum." The moment I put myself in your place, your mum is my mum. Any other way of thinking would imply that I'm not really you, which is what we are assuming at the start.


3

My explanation would be that when she says, "May you please pass the salt?" she is saying "Do you 'have permission' to please pass the salt?" Instead she should be saying, "Would you please pass the salt." which means, " 'Are you willing (it is at your discretion) to please pass the salt?"


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