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  1. #1
    nyota's Avatar
    nyota is offline Senior Member
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    Default Was you surprised...?

    *Was you surprised when you heard about it?

    I heard 'was' used with 'you' on a number of occasions (American English) and yes I was surprised. I realise it's incorrect but hearing it more and more often I'm wondering how disgraceful it sounds in an informal situation?
    Last edited by nyota; 24-Aug-2011 at 15:22. Reason: typo

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Was you surprised...?

    I wouldn't say 'disgraceful' - except in a sense that (to the best of my knowledge) the word never had: lacking gracefulness.

    b

  3. #3
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    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Was you surprised...?

    I hear that usage on Corrie all the time, more than from the lips of Yanks.

  4. #4
    TheParser is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: Was you surprised...?

    Quote Originally Posted by nyota View Post
    *Was you surprised when you heard about it?

    I heard 'was' used with 'you' on a number of occasions (American English) and yes I was surprised. I realise it's incorrent but hearing it more and more often I'm wondering how disgraceful it sounds in an informal situation?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) You have asked an excellent question.

    (2) I found the answer in A Grammar of the English Language, written by the one and

    only Professor George O. Curme.

    (3) "In older English, ...was ... was sometimes used for both singular and plural,

    and for all persons."

    (4) "Was was most frequently employed for were with the subject you where the

    reference was to only one individual."

    (a) Professor Curme cities this example: "Pray, Sir, how was you cured of your love?"

    (5) Here in the United States, we had a scholar in the 19th century named Noah

    Webster (the same person who compiled a famous dictionary). The great professor

    quotes Mr. Webster as writing:

    "The compilers of grammars condemn the use of was with you -- but in vain."

    (a) (My words) Mr. Webster was wrong. It was not in vain. Books and teachers

    have succeeded in stopping this use among educated people. Almost no one

    says "You was ...." anymore in the United States. The only ones who do so are

    people who have not had a good education or continue to speak the kind of English

    that was passed down to them through their families.

    P.S. It might astonish you to know that in the 19th century "He don't ...." was

    common among all classes -- until teachers (bless them!) stopped that practice

    by constantly criticizing it.

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