You

'You' is the second person pronoun. Here, we will discuss the functions and grammatical rules of this useful pronoun.

How to use "You" in the English Grammar

You is used as the singular, second-person subject or object pronoun. In this lesson, we will discuss when and how to use it. But first, look at its functions:

Functions of 'You'

1. 'You' as a Subject Pronoun

Use

You can be used to address one person or more than one person. It can be impersonal as well. Take a look at its uses and examples:

  • You can refer to one person you are speaking or writing to. For example:

You know what you are talking about, Alan.

'You' refers to one person 'Alan.'

  • You is used to refer to a group of people that you are talking or writing to. For example:

You know the reason why you are here.

'You' refers to a group of people.

  • You is impersonal. That means it is used to refer to anyone. For example:

You must be 16 to be able to drive in New York.

'You' means people in general.

You should do more exercise to stay healthy.

Emphatic 'You'

You is used in exclamations, a structure for addressing a person or a group of people. For example:

You guys, do you know where the bank is?

'You' in the exclamation 'you guys' is used to emphasize 'guys.'

I hate you, you big idiot!

Tip

In old English, there was a distinction between 'you singular' and 'you plural.' But in modern English, this distinction is obsolete; instead, in some dialects, some words are used after 'you', such as:
1. You all (y'all)
2. You guys
3. You lot

Position in a Sentence

You as a subject pronoun generally replaces the subject. For example:

You should go there.

Do you know where I am?

'You' is a pronoun replacing the subject.

2. 'You' as an Object Pronoun

You as an object pronoun can be a direct object, an indirect object, and an object of a preposition.

2.1 'You' as a Direct Object

Use

You as a direct object receives the action of the verb. For example:

I love you.

'You' is the recipient of the verb 'to love.'

She knows you very well.

'You' is the direct object.

Position in a Sentence

You as a direct object comes after the verb. For example:

She knows you very well.

'You' is after the verb.

That was you.

'You' is an object pronoun.

2.2 'You' as an Indirect Object

Use

You can be the indirect object in a sentence and receive the direct object. For example:

I give you a book.

'You' is the recipient of 'a book.'

She bought you a cookie.

'You' is the indirect object.

Position in a Sentence

You as an indirect object comes before the direct object. For example:

I give you a book.

'A book' is the direct object and 'you' the indirect object.

2.3 'You' as an Object of a Preposition

Use

You is the object of the preposition that is introduced by the preposition. For example:

I've got some good news for you.

I want to talk to you.

Position in a Sentence

You as an object of the preposition comes after the preposition. For example:

I want to talk to you.

'To' is a preposition.

Tip

You can be used instead of a reflexive pronoun in the spoken English. For example:

Go and buy you a nice dress!

'You' in this example is an indirect object and this sentence could be 'Go and buy yourself a nice dress!'

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