Dear Northern People (and yes, we really do call you "Yankees" behind your back, but we mean it in the nicest way possible),
It would appear that many of you are beginning to desire to add the word "y'all" to your vocabulary. I do not blame you. It is an excellent word, rich in culture, and full of practical application. And we Southerners are gracious (MY STARS, we are gracious). We will share this word with you happily, because we feel should not be discriminated against just because you did not have the good sense to be born in God's Country.
So by all means, take our word "y'all" and use it with pride. You are just as welcome to it as you can be. But please, please, use it properly. An improper "y'all" use is just a slap in the face of all we hold dear, and we cannot bear it. Here is what you need to know:
1. "Y'all" is never, ever, ever, EVER singular. It must refer to a group. If you refer to one person as y'all, then, I'm sorry, but we can hear your Yankee-ness loud and clear.
2. Even if you have a thick New York accent, you must attempt to say "y'all" with a southern accent. "Y'all" spoken with a northern accent just does not work. Go ahead, throw yourself into it: YA-A-A-AWL. Please pronounce every one of those A's.
3. You may hear your Southern friends say "all y'all". This is perfectly acceptable for native Southerners. If you are a transplant, tread carefully. In order to pull off "all y'all", you have to have some heritage behind you.
4. Conversely, do NOT use "y'all guys." It is just wrong. And when you leave the room we will laugh at you, but we will be sure to tack on a "bless his heart" at the end.
5. Let us discuss the spelling. "Y'all" is a contraction of "you" and "all". Therefore, the apostrophe MUST go in the place of the "ou". It is "y'all". Not "ya'll".
6. Be prepared. If you adopt our fine word and go back home to your northern friends and family, they will give you great grief for sounding like a hillbilly. Bear up, my friend--it is a burden we Southerners have borne for years. Be comforted that your new word brings with it the brilliant heritage of Faulkner and O'Connor. And also cheese grits.