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Your guys's

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Your guys's

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 05.20.2008 12:53 pm

One well-known deficiency in standard English is the lack of a second-person plural pronoun ("you" works for both singular and plural). To remedy this defect, more casual speech incorporates plural forms such as "y'all" and "you guys".

The dialect I speak uses "you guys" as the plural "you", and applies to groups of any gender (including all females). What I find odd is that the possessive of this is either "your guys'" or "your guys's". I myself use both (for instance, "We'll go over to your guys's house next time.") When I type it out it looks so stupid but I both use and hear it without any notice. It's a very strange possessive formation, though -- why do both words have to be given a possessive form? As far as I know, nobody says "We'll go over to you guys' (or guys's) house next time." And why "guys's"? I don't say "The bears's cave".

The pattern is also used in other forms; I caught myself the other day saying "It should be one of their guys's turns to drive" and I've heard "our guys's" also. These are even more bizarre because there's no reason to use "their guys's" instead of "theirs", or "our guys's" instead of "our". (My only guess would be that "those guys" does seem to have a somewhat different connotation than "they", so maybe "their guys's" keeps the connotation of "those guys".)

I've been using this all my life but I just recently noticed how strange it is. I guess I should stay in the Midwest US. :)
Last edited by Yudan Taiteki on Tue 05.20.2008 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Your guys's

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 05.20.2008 1:27 pm

Chris, you cracked me up with that. I use you all or y'all depending. I was born and raised in the west, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. But have spent 1 year in Oklahoma and 13 years in Northern Virginia.

We get the obligatory yu'uns in this area and to the south.

I think the proper way is just your. When speaking to many and saying we are going to your house, I believe it is implied that you are speaking to the one person who's house you are going to. If more than one share the house, then it's still implied that you are going to their house (your house in this case).

I don't have any specific training in the area we are talking about, so I am falling back on what was taught to me in the formative years of English classes in my younger years.
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Re: Your guys's

Postby Wakannai » Tue 05.20.2008 3:02 pm

Yous as the plural of you. Somewhere nearby, Tennesee or somewhere. I first encountered it in the Navy and we all teased the guy, then I heard it a few times since I moved here.
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Re: Your guys's

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 05.20.2008 3:29 pm

Wakannai wrote:Yous as the plural of you. Somewhere nearby, Tennesee or somewhere. I first encountered it in the Navy and we all teased the guy, then I heard it a few times since I moved here.


that sounds like the standard Pennsylvania/New York way to say it.
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Re: Your guys's

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 05.20.2008 5:15 pm

Yeah, definitely in proper English, "you" and "your" function as both singular and plural. I would never write "your guys's" nor would I say it in anything remotely approaching formal speech.
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Re: Your guys's

Postby Oracle » Tue 05.20.2008 6:11 pm

Wakannai wrote:Yous as the plural of you. Somewhere nearby, Tennesee or somewhere. I first encountered it in the Navy and we all teased the guy, then I heard it a few times since I moved here.


'Yous' can be heard sometimes in Australia as well..guess some of those Tennessee Navy guys bought it over ;)
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Re: Your guys's

Postby chikara » Tue 05.20.2008 8:47 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:..... I caught myself the other day saying "It should be one of their guys's turns to drive" ....

To my mind that is an unnecessary double plural. Shouldn't it simply be "turn" as in "it should be one of their guys' turn to drive".

Oracle wrote:'Yous' can be heard sometimes in Australia as well..guess some of those Tennessee Navy guys bought it over ;)

Yes, "yous" is certainly used in this country. When not being used to refer to a mob of female sheep it is usually being used by one of the less educated members of society. ;)
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Re: Your guys's

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 05.20.2008 9:13 pm

chikara wrote:
Yudan Taiteki wrote:..... I caught myself the other day saying "It should be one of their guys's turns to drive" ....

To my mind that is an unnecessary double plural. Shouldn't it simply be "turn" as in "it should be one of their guys' turn to drive".


I didn't even notice that, but I think it can go either way. If it's "turns" it just means that they are each supposed to take a turn, so it should be one of their turns. But "turn" is fine too. I'm not sure which one I actually said.
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Re: Your guys's

Postby chikara » Tue 05.20.2008 9:27 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:I didn't even notice that, but I think it can go either way. If it's "turns" it just means that they are each supposed to take a turn, so it should be one of their turns. But "turn" is fine too. I'm not sure which one I actually said.

I agree, either could be correct.

I guess I think of it in the context of "Whose turn is it?" "It is one of their guys' turn." Singular subject in both question and answer. But, as you say, each person in the group has a turn therefore "their guys" as a collective has "turns".

This is our native language, what hope have I got with Japanese :(
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Re: Your guys's

Postby becki_kanou » Tue 05.20.2008 9:29 pm

Just to chime in if I may, I was born and raised in Connecticut, went to school in Indiana and finally moved to Japan. In casual speech I would use either you guys's or your guys' and maybe sometimes your guys's.

These all tend to be said in unthinking, on-the-fly conversation, and as you said they look rather stupid when you write them down. However, I've never been much of a prescriptivist, so I just enjoy the variety.

That said, it would be nice if we had a separate plural "you" suitable for formal speech/writing.
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Re: Your guys's

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 05.20.2008 9:57 pm

chikara wrote:
Yudan Taiteki wrote:I didn't even notice that, but I think it can go either way. If it's "turns" it just means that they are each supposed to take a turn, so it should be one of their turns. But "turn" is fine too. I'm not sure which one I actually said.

I agree, either could be correct.

I guess I think of it in the context of "Whose turn is it?" "It is one of their guys' turn." Singular subject in both question and answer. But, as you say, each person in the group has a turn therefore "their guys" as a collective has "turns".


Hmm...after giving this further thought:

It's one of their books.
*It's one of their book.
It's one of their turns.
*It's one of their turn.

So it should be "It's one of their guys's turns", I think.

(BTW, "their guys's" only gets 8 google hits compared to 26,000+ for "you guys's", so maybe I'm in the minority in using that. It does sound a little odd.)
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Re: Your guys's

Postby richvh » Tue 05.20.2008 10:03 pm

Then there were the Bowery Boys and their youse guys, with I guess a plural of youse guys'.
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Re: Your guys's

Postby chikara » Tue 05.20.2008 10:21 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:Hmm...after giving this further thought:

It's one of their books.
*It's one of their book.
It's one of their turns.
*It's one of their turn.

So it should be "It's one of their guys's turns", I think.


"turns" certainly sounds better in that scenario but that is because you don't have the double plural of "guys'" although "their" is both plural and singular. "guys's turn" implies multiple turns unless all "their guys" are going to drive at once. :)

We could argue this 'til the cows come home but what sounds right to you will never sound right to me and vice-versa due to our very different flavours of English.
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Re: Your guys's

Postby AJBryant » Tue 05.20.2008 11:27 pm

Sigh.

Guys'.

PERIOD.

Damned dialect.
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Re: Your guys's

Postby Shirasagi » Wed 05.21.2008 9:16 am

AJBryant wrote:Sigh.

Guys'.

PERIOD.

Damned dialect.


You aren't actually suggesting a standard English orthographic convention on non-standard English, are you? :wink: Besides, I believe Chris is quite aware of correct apostrophe usage, and is using "guys's" to represent the pronunciation "guys-es".
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