You – The Personal Pronoun


The personal pronoun you is used in speech and writing in two ways: singular and plural. In Modern English, you is the nominative form, and in the past, it was also used in the oblique case. It is usually used before a noun or other object. The possessive forms of you include you, yourself, and yours.

In early modern English, the two forms are distinguishable by a T-V pattern. The plural forms were considered more respectful and deferential compared to the first-person singular form. This resulted in the decline of the familiar thou in modern English, but it still persists in some dialects. Among these dialects are the southern United States, African American Vernacular English, and North American varieties.

Another form of you is you-all, a shortened form of you. The plural form is used to address multiple people or groups. It is most common in urban centers. You-all is also used in informal speech. However, it should not be used if you’re not addressing a single person.

While you’re short for “you are,” it shows ownership of the object or verb. The word yore sounds similar, but is a dated word for the past. As a result, it’s rarely used in formal documents. Instead, you’re the more appropriate choice when you want to say something that belongs to you.