Culture and Lifestyle Quotes and Sayings What's The Difference Between Y'all And Ya'll? There's only one correct way to spell it, y'all. By Grace Haynes Grace Haynes Grace is a former Associate Homes Editor for Southern Living. She covered a variety of topics for print and digital, from design and flower arranging to cottage gardens and pets. Before moving to the Homes team, she joined Southern Living as a copy editor. Off the clock, find her strolling through neighborhoods around the South to admire the houses and snapping photos of colorful front doors. Southern Living's editorial guidelines Updated on January 30, 2023 Fact checked by Jillian Dara Fact checked by Jillian Dara Jillian is a freelance writer, editor and fact-checker with 10 years of editorial experience in the lifestyle genre. In addition to fact-checking for Southern Living, Jillian works on multiple verticals across Dotdash-Meredith, including TripSavvy, The Spruce, and Travel + Leisure. brand's fact checking process Share Tweet Pin Email The South is known for its laundry list of unique, quirky, cultural sayings, like "Bless your heart," "Too big for his britches," and "Well, I s'wanee," to name a few. But the best-known word in the Southern vernacular is probably our most-loved pronoun: y'all. A contraction of "you" and "all" is what forms "y'all" when addressing or referencing two or more people. Here's everything you need to know about this Southern phrase. Getty Images How To Spell Y'all The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes this phrase as a variant of "you all" and the origin as chiefly Southern U.S. It also states there is a correct—and incorrect—way to spell this fond colloquialism. This familiar pronoun is even included in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, which is a trusted, go-to source for Southern Living copy editors. The only proper way to spell the contraction of "you" and "all" is "y'all." Put together "you all," and you get "y'all," just as "cannot" becomes "can't" and "do not" becomes "don't." Think about the term in this sense, and you'll be less likely to misspell it. "Ya'll" is incorrect and a misspelling of the word, so don't use it. When you think about it, "y'all" makes the most sense as the spelling when using it similarly to basic contractions. How Y'all Is Growing Beyond the South According to language learning software Babbel, the use of "y'all" beyond a geographically-specific dialect is increasing in popular culture because it solves an English language problem. Unlike French, German, and Spanish languages, the English language does not have a designed second-person plural pronoun. Using "y'all" also adds a gender-neutral variation to the familiar phrase "you guys." The phrase "you guys" often refers to a group of two or more people, regardless of gender, and is commonly used throughout the U.S. Variations of Y'all Though "y'all" is inherently plural, in addressing a larger group of people, "all y'all" is an occasionally used casual phrase. Like all soda is called Coke, and all tea is sweet unless otherwise noted, "y'all" is a crucial piece of Southern verbiage deeply engrained in our culture. As in the South, different parts of the U.S. and worldwide have their own versions of "y'all," according to Babbel. Some of these include "yinz" in the Ozarks, Appalachians, and western Pennsylvania and "you lot" in the United Kingdom and Australia. So there you have it, y'all. Think you're a pro at Southern sayings? Test your knowledge with our list of lesser-known Southern phrases. Check out more familiar Southern slang terms to see which ones you use most in everyday conversation. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Southern Living is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources to support the facts in our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy. Babbel. The Rise of Y'all And The Quest For A Second-Person Plural Pronoun.