Request an Exam Copy

Why Don’t We Have A Plural “You”?

Categories New Testament

A number of readers responded to yesterday’s Monday with Mounce by suggesting “y’all” in Southern dialect (and ye, thou, etc. in King James era English) solve the problem of plural “you” in New Testament translation. 

But what about here in the Midwest, or other regions outside the South that don’t have an equivalent of “y’all” to turn to?

Presumably we had such a word at one time, if English from the KJV or Geneva Bible is anything to go by.

So why did those words pass from our language without being replaced?

I don’t have an answer, but if anyone reading this does please feel free to share. There must be a journal article or something out there that examines this phenomenon, particularly as it seems like such a glaring weakness in modern day English. 

"You" and "You" - Singular or Plural? (Monday with Mounce 139)
"You" and "You" - Singular or Plural? (Monday with Mounce 139) I wish modern English had a different form for “you” plural. It would solve some sticky translation problems. So until t...
Your form could not be submitted. Please check errors and resubmit.

Thank you!
Sign up complete.

Subscribe to the Blog Get expert commentary on biblical languages, fresh explorations in theology, hand-picked book excerpts, author videos, and info on limited-time sales.
By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 USA) providing information about products and services of HCCP and its affiliates. You may unsubscribe from these email communications at any time. If you have any questions, please review our Privacy Policy or email us at This form is protected by reCAPTCHA.