Interested in Language
John, David and Peter were eating in a resturant. John asked David and Peter:
What did you guys order?
Is it unnatural to say "What did you order?" if we asked both of them? "You" can refer to one person or two people or more. What can we say if we don't use "you guys"?
Last edited by 5jj; 04-Jan-2013 at 14:10. Reason: typo
You could say "you all" if addressing a group instead of "you guys." (In fact "you all" is contracted as "y'all" and serves as the plural form of you in certain dialects of English in the American south.)
I read a book written by a non native. The author said "In daily conversation, most of the people won't use "you" to represent plural". Even if there are a few people are here, if one of them says "Do you need this". The "you" mostly works for "singular" only. In order to avoid misunderstanding, the author suggested we use "you guys" to represent plural. What do you think about this?
Last edited by Winwin2011; 04-Jan-2013 at 14:53.
Last edited by Winwin2011; 04-Jan-2013 at 15:09.
You are basically asking if there is some way to make sure that those listening to you understand whether "you" means just one of a group or the entire group.
As usual, context and other clues helps us. If I am in a meeting and say "you need to sign the attendance sheet" it's clear this applies to all. On the other hand, if I say to John "can you dim the lights?" it would be clear from the events and the eye contact that I am talking to just one person.