The Trouble with “You Guys”
I have a problem. It’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time and until recently didn’t realize how serious the problem was. I’m working on changing, but it hasn’t been easy, especially since most people have the same problem. It’s a “you guys” problem. As in, “Have you guys seen the movie Avatar?” Those in the south use “y’all” instead of “you guys”. Either way, it’s improper English and needs to go away.
Why is it that we feel we need to add an extra word after “you” when we are talking about a group? “You” is both a singular and plural pronoun, so there is no need to add “guys” or “all” after the word.
As I’ve been working on eliminating the phrase from my vocabulary I’ve been amazed by how many people use it; even highly educated professionals who I would think would know better. In fact, after telling my husband, Eric, that I needed to stop saying “you guys” and him smugly saying yes I did need to stop, I later heard him say it several times. So, therein lies the problem. I’m surrounded by people using the phrase. It’s really hard to escape “you guys”.
Well, they say awareness is the first step to changing a bad habit. In the past, I never even noticed I said it, let alone others. Now I notice it every time and I wince when it comes out of my mouth.
Eric and I decided to charge each other a quarter every time we hear the other utter the ugly phrase. I’m hoping the sin jar doesn’t get too full before we’re able to remove all “you guys” from our vocabulary, but if it takes a while to break the habit, maybe we can afford some English classes. Ha, wouldn’t that be ironic; me, an English Literature major, taking English classes. Sigh. Well, see you guys later. Argh, I mean, see you later.
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