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  1. MaggyG

    polite form You

    Can I say "You are a passenger" applying to a very respectful man or if he or she is way older than me? Should I, in this case, use a capital letter Y in a pronoun 'You'? If I apply to a few or many people, stating that they are passengers, what pronoun describe them better? Thanks in advance. Olga

    • Join Date: Dec 2005
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    Re: polite form You

    I can't think of a situation where someone would need to be told they are a passenger. If it's very obvious the people are passengers, and you tell them they are, they may take it the wrong way. Do you work on some transportation service (train, plane)?. You might say "Welcome passengers" or just "Welcome aboard".

    Having said that, to apply to multiple people, "You are passengers" or "You all are passengers." . In Southern US dialect we say "Y'all are passengers." but that's only to be used in the South (interesting article about that here)

    English curiously lacks a singular-plural distinction in the second person even though all other European languages have both: French ("tu" versus "vous"), German ("du" versus "ihr"), Russian ("ty" versus "vy"), and so on. Some time ago, English distinguished between "thou (art)" and "you (are)." "Thou" was second person singular and "you" was second person plural. Somewhere in the shuffle of history that crucial distinction was lost.
    Last edited by borat; 02-Dec-2005 at 17:21.

  2. Curious Cat's Avatar

    • Join Date: Jul 2005
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    Re: polite form You

    "You" is not used in English like it is used in Russian or German, or in Spanish etc. You don't need to use the capital letter to express your respect for an older person. Besides, how would you do it in oral speech? Politeness is expressed though some other ways in English, and by means of particular structures. That also depends on the context where you use the "you"s. Honestly I'm puzzled too, what for you should inform the person that he/she is a passenger But you can say something like: Please be advised that you are a passenger .... I think it will be polite enough, though may be the native speakers here will correct me

  3. Vlad_the_Inhaler's Avatar

    • Join Date: Dec 2005
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    Re: polite form You

    Yes, you is the plural, polite form like vi in Russian and vous in French, but the singular, thou, is no longer used (apart from in Yorkshire, sometimes)

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