I asked this question online and didn't expect the avalanche of replies and interest. (I know that compared to the thousands of likes and replies others get on Twitter, it seems like small potatoes, but for me, this topic generated a lot of responses.Question: I've removed the phrase "you guys" from my regular vocabulary. I replaced it with "you people" but I've been told it sounds too accusatory/unfriendly/awkward. What's a good way to say the plural-you?— Diana Maliszewski (@MzMollyTL) September 6, 2018
*We deviate from the original topic of this blog post for an important tangent.*
A bit of an unexpected technical challenge here while composing this blog post - I wanted to include every single person that took the time to answer. Usually with my blog, it's just a simple case of "embed tweet" but as of September 8, 2018 at 9:34 pm, there were 29 replies, and that didn't count the ones that stemmed from the follow-up emails. Spooler looked possible but I didn't know which tweet would count as the last tweet in the thread (it works by "unspooling" the twitter thread from the last to the first). I read up on Spooler and it said that it would only connect tweets by the original writer, so that won't work. I tried ThreadReaderApp but it wasn't that successful because all the replies didn't connect to each other, just to the original tweet. Storify is dead now and I read that Wakelet was a good alternative, but I tried it and it wasn't doing what I wanted it to, plus it was a little grabby in terms of taking permissions. I will have to settle with an old-fashioned copy and pasting of just a few of the tweets.
*Now we return to your regularly scheduled blog post topic*
Big thanks to EVERYONE who took the time to reply. I got responses to the original tweet from
and I received subsequent responses from
Apologies to anyone who responded to this topic after I composed and revised this blog post who did not receive a mention. Mea culpa.
To complicate things, I neglected to mention in my initial tweet that I wasn't searching for ways to address a class of students, but the members of my own immediate family! I wrote down all the suggestions that people had offered (at that point in time) and then, a day after I published the original tweet, I shared some of the reactions my family had to the various ideas.
So I've asked 2/3 of my family members for their reactions to the various alternatives suggested to "you guys" / "you people". I wrote them down. Some of their answers are amusing. At the risk of offending, here's their responses...— Diana Maliszewski (@MzMollyTL) September 6, 2018
comrades = no, too Communist— Diana Maliszewski (@MzMollyTL) September 6, 2018
mates = a bit like mes amis / works if you are Australian
peeps = in our family that would work but it's a bit street
humans = I say that ironically
pals = ummm
crew = a bit street (*made Chris Bradford and his crew* reference)
I've realized that there is no one perfect or mutually agreed upon answer to this question. Below are just a few of the tweets that explained why a particular term does or doesn't work for some. The fascinating thing is that there are very valid arguments for and against the same words. For instance, some of the most popular recommendations were "friends" and "y'all", but there were still some eloquent objections. (If I had time, I would have tallied all the votes for all the words mentioned by people.)Once again, I hope I have not offended anyone for their great, various suggestions. (Remember some of my family don't really understand why I removed "you guys" from my vocabulary.) Their views do not necessarily reflect mine. They just made me chuckle. (end of thread)— Diana Maliszewski (@MzMollyTL) September 6, 2018
I use All, Folks, Friends. I don't use Y'all, To me it is a regional expression & there is just the sliiiightest "arent I clever' ironic subtext to it when used by those not from the region. Feel free to disagree... friends :)— Peggy Lunn (@plunn8) September 6, 2018
Being in a junior school, I use ‘friends’ when I connect with whole class or small groups. I also discuss with my class why I have moved away from ‘boys & girls’ or ‘ladies & gentlemen’.— Zélia (@ZeliaMCT) September 6, 2018
As a country boy living in the city, I'm all for folksiness taking over.— Mike Fletcher (@thevrplumber) September 7, 2018
Y'all doesn't feel right when I try to say it, but here's hoping it works for you. I find it drags out and sounds like I'm trying to affect an American accent.
Another term that gets my goat: when teachers call students “friends”. Nope- they’re not all friends. Some might even loathe each other. “Classmates” is a perfectly good word. It describes the actual relationship and implies respectful treatment. “Friends” debases the term. https://t.co/VtzaOdkI6g— Helaine Becker (@helainebecker) September 7, 2018
I call my students friends all the time. Ladies and Gentlemen feels too formal. Guys doesn’t feel right. I use the grade, but kids are more than their grade. I call on students by name whenever I can, but what do you suggest? And where is the thread Di? Would love to hear others.— Jennifer Casa-Todd (@JCasaTodd) September 8, 2018
I use the term now in this role because I don’t know names from school to school. I never saw it as asking kids to be friends but me reaching out. Just like we may call folks on SM friends - a starting olive branch.— Tina Zita (@tina_zita) September 8, 2018
(The last tweet was in response to someone who has their Twitter account locked on private, and who mentioned that "the occasional 'guys' still slips out".)Same. . .however, over time, I’ve somehow gender-neutralized the term.— Sean Gale (@Gale_TDSB) September 8, 2018
My family said they'd prefer I use the term "peeps" (So, some of my commonly uttered phrases directed at the group of them will now sound more like, "What are you peeps planning to do for the rest of the evening?" or "I love you peeps so much!") I wonder, if I brought this up with my students, what term they would recommend or choose. Now that I've been hyper-aware of my choice of words, I've noticed that the most popular way to address a group at school by other educators is "you guys", followed by "boys and girls" if the students are in a primary grade. There is no perfect alternative, but some thought-provoking reasons for using one term over another. Food for thought.