"You Guys" When Addressing Male and Females

Discussion in 'Manners/Etiquette' started by Fatman, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. Fatman

    Fatman Well-Known Member

    Anyone else (dating ourselves) bothered by the phrase "you guys" when addressing young men and young women?

    I know she is not known for her manners, but the First Lady's speech to young Irish dancers uses this phrase:

    Speaking at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, Ireland, at a performance by of "Riverdance" by Irish youth,
    First Lady Michelle Obama thanked the crowd and said, "It is good to be home."

    "My goodness! (Applause.) That’s wonderful! You did it! Oh, my goodness. (Applause.)
    Thank you all so much. It is good to be home. Yes, indeed.
    You all are amazing -- and you're pretty good-looking, too. (Laughter.)," she said as she took the stage.

    "I want to thank all you for being here. You know, kids, you guys, young people -- you guys have my heart. And I said this in Belfast earlier -- it's so true. (Laughter.) Look, my girls know -- I can embarrass them and love them to death -- but young people, you guys move me in ways that you don’t even imagine. So it was so important for us that while we were here we got to do something with the young people here in Dublin. So thank you for such a warm welcome. You have made my family feel right at home in Ireland, and you guys are pretty awesome," she said.

    "I want you to take that away with you this summer. I want you to look at me and Barack and all these wonderful leaders and understand that we are you. We are just like you -- just kids who worked a little hard and dreamt pretty big, and got to do some wonderful things. "
  2. midnight2six

    midnight2six Active Member

    I think she was just trying too hard. Personally it wouldn't offend me but it's a lazy generalization. Could do better.
  3. JerseyJohn

    JerseyJohn Well-Known Member

    "You guys" seems to have become gender-neutral in the last two or three decades. I was against it in the 80's but I think the train has left the station on that one.
  4. Bjorn

    Bjorn Moderator

    Best eschewed IMO.
  5. zzdocxx

    zzdocxx Well-Known Member

    May be a regional/generational thing, best overlooked.
  6. MaxBuck

    MaxBuck Well-Known Member

    Anyone knows the proper usage is "you'se guys." Or, when in Pittsburgh, "y'ins."
  7. dks202

    dks202 Well-Known Member

    Should have been proper South Texas "y'all" . I never understood girls calling each other "guys" or "you guys"/
  8. RM Bantista

    RM Bantista Well-Known Member

    Jersey John has the correct attitude on this to my mind. One may blame 'The Electric Company' of Public Television if necessary to assign tipping points, but one had fond moments watching the show with my children, from Rita Moreno's call to assembly, "Hey, you guys," until Easy Reader made his appearance and brightened my day, a great pleasure and certainly a better use of public airways than many another enterprise.
    'Guys' in context meaning persons one supposes, sentient beings of inherent worthiness, and probably it will do no harm to admit women and children to number among the elect.
    But do as thou wilt is the the whole of the law,
  9. Mr. Grenxa

    Mr. Grenxa Member

    Yup, 'guys', in the colloquial usage, is now indeed just 'people' and not just 'men' (and can also be any set of objects/creatures if you wish--as the above poster already mentioned).

    I find it very funny though (in the context of this forum) that one of its (non-colloquial, but mostly obsolete in today's speech) meanings is a poorly/grotesquely/eccentrically dressed person.
  10. Anthony Jordan

    Anthony Jordan Well-Known Member

    My daughter and her 9 year-old peer group in their girls' school all seem to do it in spite of all our discouragements!
  11. Chouan

    Chouan Well-Known Member

    When used to me and my companions by a waiter in a restaurant I make a note to never go there again.
  12. eagle2250

    eagle2250 Connoisseur<br>Moderator

    Our First Lady showed positive interest in members of a younger generation and took the time and invested the energy required to share a very positive message with them. In terms of the specific words used to impart her message, was she simply trying to connect with her listeners. I disagree with the Obama's (and all those/you'se crazy 'Obamamanians') about many things, but this instance is not one of them! ;)
  13. Howard

    Howard Well-Known Member

    I would've just said "Ladies & Gentlemen", it's formal.
  14. herfitup

    herfitup Well-Known Member

    She spent too many years in Boston. It is a standard way of addressing a group here and has been for years.
  15. Mr. Grenxa

    Mr. Grenxa Member

    The phenomenon actually isn't that (linguistically) surprising--in languages which distinguish gender (on nouns & adjectives) mixed groups are (in most if not all cases) refereed to using the (grammatical) masculine forms (even when a neuter gender is available, since masculine is generally the default form, not the neuter).
  16. Chouan

    Chouan Well-Known Member

    Quite. Guy is a masculine term, from the French, so I suppose it is acceptable for a group.
  17. wdrazek

    wdrazek Well-Known Member

    In Chicago, we always used to say "Youse Guys." Maybe FLOTUS is getting away from her roots...
  18. Tilton

    Tilton Well-Known Member

    Hailing from Virginia by way of Georgia, I just say "y'all" and it is always acceptable. My father, a northerner, says "you's guys," and my good friend from Lee County, Virginia (west of Detroit!) says "you'ins" in many situations. I think "you guys" is pretty acceptable these days, as are all of the regional derivatives.
  19. JerseyJohn

    JerseyJohn Well-Known Member

    Y'all actually would be a nice alternative. In many languages, they make a distinction between the singular and plural form of "you". We did in English, too, many centuries ago. "You" or "ye" were plural (equivalent to "y'all") and "thou" was singular. "Thou", like the German "du" was considered overly familiar - and unlike in German, where "du" still survives between family, good friends or when addressing children - the English "thou" eventually died out completely except in the King James Bible and other historical works. "Y'all" resurrects this useful distinction.
  20. Traser

    Traser Well-Known Member


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