Common Errors Starting with Y

ya’ll vs y’all

“How y’all doin’?” If you are rendering this common Southernism inprint, be careful where you place the apostrophe, which stands for thesecond and third letters in “you.” Note that “y’all” stands f...

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ye vs the

Those who study the history of English know that the word often misreadas “ye” in Middle English is good old “the” spelled with an unfamiliarcharacter called a thorn which looks vaguely like a “Y” ...

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yea vs yeah vs yay

<p>Yeah is the word you want when you want to say ‘yes’ informally. </p><pre>“Should we order pizza?” “Yeah, let’s do that.” </pre><p>Yea is an old-fashioned word that was used to mean ‘yes’ in a v...

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year end and year out vs year in and year out

When something goes on continually, it is traditional to say it happens “year in and year out,” meaning “from the beginning of the year to its end—and so on year after year.”The mistaken form “year...

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yoke vs yolk

The yellow center of an egg is its yolk. The link that holds two oxentogether is a yoke; they are yoked.

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you

The second person has perfectly legitimate uses, even when you are not directly addressing another specific person as I am doing in this sentence (I am addressing you, the reader). One example is t...

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you better vs you had better

In casual speech, it’s common to say things like “you better make your bed before Mom comes home.” But in writing and in formal speech, the expression is “you had better.” Slightly less formal but ...

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you know vs know what i’m sayin’?

In casual speech it’s fine to say things like “You know, I really liked that blouse you were wearing yesterday.” But some people fall into the habit of punctuating their speech with “you know” so f...

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your vs you’re

“You’re” is always a contraction of “you are.” If you’ve written “you’re,” try substituting “you are.” If it doesn’t work, the word you want is “your.” Your writing will improve if you’re careful a...

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your guys’s vs your

Many languages have separate singular and plural forms for the second person (ways of saying “you”), but standard English does not. “You” can be addressed to an individual or a whole room full of p...

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yourself

In formal English it’s safest to use “yourself” only after having earlier in the same sentence used “you.” When the British reply to a query like ”How are you?” with “Fine, and yourself?” they are ...

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your vs you

“I appreciate your cleaning the toilet” is more formal than “Iappreciate you cleaning the toilet.”

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youse vs you

The plural form of “you” pronounced as “youse” is heard mainly in satire on the speech of folks from Brooklyn. It’s not standard English, since “you” can be either singular or plural without any ch...

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you was vs you were

“I just knowed you was here when I seed your truck outside.” “You” followed by “was” is nonstandard, and occurs in print mainly when the writer is trying to make the speaker sound uneducated. The s...

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