Writing Tip 50: The spelling of “y’all”

Everyone has their version of the South. Here’s mine. Wow, do I miss the mountains this time of year.

When people misspell the contraction “y’all,” I can’t help but cringe. Sure, it may be the same way others cringe upon hearing the southern colloquialism, but I can’t help it. It’s not a creation of an invented dialect. It’s a contraction, people. A contraction. As in one word that combines two others.

  • Is not –> Isn’t
  • They will –> They’ll
  • I have–> I’ve
  • It is –> ‘tis (Yes, I’m a Shakespeare fan too)
  • You all –> Y’all

What is with this “ya’ll” form I keep seeing? Is this some form of Yankee trickery, trying to transfigure a celebrated Southern idiom into a nonsensical, Red Neck Comedy Tour inspired tomfoolery? I protest, y’all. I utterly and whole-heartedly protest.