Saturday, November 23, 2019

An Unexpected Question About You

An Unexpected Question About You An Unexpected Question About You An Unexpected Question About You By Maeve Maddox A reader has been having a discussion with a friend about which of the following is the right grammar You was..or You were†¦ The fact that this question can be the subject of discussion in an age of free public education suggests either that basic standard grammar is not being taught effectively in the schools, or that pronouns are going to continue to go their own way as they have always done. Add the bombardment of ungrammatical popular culture to the current of normal linguistic change, and grammatical certainties as apparently fundamental as you were are called into question. Take, for example, these lyrics from a song sung by Dean Martin and Peggy Lee: (PL) If you were to ask me who the sweetest one I knew was Id say you was (DM) If you were to ask me who my favorite point of view was Id say you was Any construction, heard often enough, is going to begin to sound right to the speakers who hear it. In the case of you, the situation is muddied by the fact that the pronoun you is used with either a singular or a plural antecedent. You began as a plural pronoun. Its singular counterpart was thou. For social and historical reasons the form thou dropped out of English with the result that plural you now does the work of singular thou. Its not illogical to want to put a singular verb with a subject that stands for one person. In the case of you, however, its ungrammatical in standard English. To answer the readers question: You were is the correct standard form. Want to improve your English in five minutes a day? Get a subscription and start receiving our writing tips and exercises daily! Keep learning! Browse the Grammar category, check our popular posts, or choose a related post below:Good At, Good In, and Good With60 Synonyms for â€Å"Trip†How to Punctuate Introductory Phrases

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