SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Enough with the "You Guys"!
By Susan Round


June 08, 2008

Perhaps I am in a club of one, but my toes curl when I hear fledgling humans address mature members of the species as YOU GUYS. This season I am employed in the visitor industry and find myself in the company of the 18 to 20-something crowd during my work day. It has truly been a pleasure and great fun for me . . . . until I hear a bus load of folks in their golden years addressed as YOU GUYS; as in, "YOU GUYS need to take all your stuff with you. " (Stuff, now there's the STUFF of another Sitnews letter!)

To my ears, YOU GUYS sounds too familiar, course, and disrespectful for this venue. I have heard YOU GUYS used inappropriately when addressing the City Council and Borough Assembly as well. I understand why this occurs. The English language, regrettably, has developed without a satisfying second person plural pronoun. In order to distinguish between you, a single individual, and you, a busload of visitors, YOU GUYS is employed. I feel your pain, but please stop. May I suggest substituting you all, as in, "You all must take your possessions with you." If you don't pronounce you all as y'all, you won't sound like you moved here from Georgia. In the south, y'all is ironically used for both the singular and plural second person pronoun, and therefore doesn't solve the problem. One can also simply say, "Please take your possessions with you."

During my work day, I see many young people from our community working in the visitor industry and I assure you they impress travelers positively with their friendliness, respect, and fine performances as tour guides and dock reps. Just this one request: Please stop with the YOU GUYS! You all may see an improvement in your tips!

Have a great and lucrative summer,

Susan Round
Ketchikan, AK

Received June 06, 2008 - Published June 08, 2008


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