Did YOU know that the word ‘you’ can be used to refer to singular as well plural nouns? Let’s check out how!
1. ‘You’ when used as second person singular
- David, why are you running?
Here, we are talking to David and ‘you’ refers to him.
Quick information: Hundreds of years ago, ‘thou’ was used instead of ‘you’ as the second person singular.
2. ‘You’ when used as second person plural
- Children, you must brush your teeth twice a day.
Here, we are directly addressing a group of people (children) and refer to them by ‘you’.
3. ‘You’ when used in a general manner
- You cannot make brownies without flour.
Here, ‘you’ refers to anyone, i.e., no one specific. You must have often heard your teacher ask, “How do you pronounce that?” This is the generic ‘you’ that students usually come across while learning English.
Quick information: ‘One’ can also be used in place of ‘you’. This is known as the generic ‘one’.
- One cannot make brownies without flour.
4. ‘You’ when used to talk about oneself, i.e., the speaker talks about his/her own self
- Jake: How are you handling James’ demise?
- Rose: Well, you do get lonely sometimes, but I have been going to a therapist.
Here, ‘you’ is being used to distance the speaker from a sensitive topic.
We can also use ‘one’ or ‘I’ in place of ‘you’, though their usage is pretty rare.
- Well, one does get lonely sometimes, but I have been going to a therapist.
- Well, I do get lonely sometimes, but I have been going to a therapist.