Often thought of as a single, singular word, you actually comprises a combination of words that form a verbal contraction. It can be used to refer to someone in a conversation, or to someone who is in the same group as a subject.
You is a personal pronoun that is used in both the second person and the third person in Modern English. You is also used as an adverb or adjective. It can be used to show ownership or to indicate time. In addition, you can be used as the object of a preposition.
You is derived from Proto-Indo-European *yus. It is cognate with archaic Swedish I, and it is used in Irish-American speech. You has become a popular word, although it is often only used in urban centers.
As with many words, you can have different meanings depending on where you use it. For example, in the southern United States, you’re usually used as a contraction of y’all. The word is also sometimes used in African American Vernacular English. In North American varieties, it is used as a second person singular form. It is occasionally used in the plural as y’all, but is not very common.
Historically, you was used only in the dative case. It has since become a common substitute for the formal indefinite pronoun one. It is often omitted in imperative sentences, but it can be used in the affirmative and negative imperatives. You is also used in nominative and accusative cases. Depending on the context, it can be used for someone who is in a group or a subgroup.
It has also become a common replacement for you-uns, a nonstandard form that has been used since the 17th century. It is also used in South Midland English. The word yore is an old-fashioned word for the past. It is also used to mean something you are doing. It is not used much anymore.
The distinction between the singular and the plural form of you is based on the T-V distinction. This distinction in the 16th century made the singular and plural forms of you less formal. It also made the distinction between thee and thou more noticeable. As a result, the familiar thou and thee were replaced with more deferential forms, which is why we hear thou and thee in many dialects. It is also sometimes used in a deliberate disrespectful manner.
As with many words, you can be used as the subject of a verb, but it is not usually used as a subject of a noun. If you are the subject of a verb, you will take the plural form of the verb. In formal documents, you will take the singular form of the verb, but in informal writing, you will usually use the plural form.
You is also a possessive adjective, meaning that you own something. The possessive forms of you are you and your. When used in the possessive, you usually takes the plural form of the verb.