Saturday, February 28, 2009

You All

To all of you from other parts,
Both city folks and rural,
Please listen while I tell you that
The phrase, "you all," is plural.

When we say, "You all must drop by,
Or we all shall be lonely,"
We mean a dozen folks, perhaps,
And not one person only.

If I should say to Mr. Jones
For instance, "You all's lazy,"
Or, "Will you all lend me a hand?"
He'd think that I was crazy.

Now, if you'd be more sociable
And with us often mingle,
You'd find that on the native tongue
"You all" is never single.

Don't think I mean to criticize,
Or act as if I knew all,
But when we speak of one alone,
We all say "you". . . like you all.

-Betty McLarin Burks, 1945

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