Changing the order of simple words can completely change their meaning, or even deem a phrase that was once correct to be incorrect. In the instance of “you all” and “all of you,” do they mean the same thing? Is one correct and one incorrect?
Both “you all” and “all of you” mean the same thing; you are referring to a specific group of people, speaking directly to them, and you are including every person in the group in your statement. So what’s the difference?
“You All” Versus “All Of You”
“You all” would be considered a more casual way to refer to everyone in a group or set, given that there’s no consensus on whether or not this terminology is grammatically proper. It’s not incorrect, but it would be considered regional; this means that some regions will use this, while others won’t. This could make the reader view this terminology as incorrect.
“All of you” on the other hand, is the more widely accepted terminology when addressing a complete group of people. It helps to make it very clear that you are indeed addressing more than one person within a group.
Is “You All” Or “All Of You” Used More?
Even though it’s not completely agreed upon whether or not “you all” is grammatically correct, it is the terminology used most often in speech. When it comes to writing, it may also be used in more casual forms of writing. It’s more conversational than “all of you” but “all of you” would be more professional.
When To Use “You All” Or “All Of You”
Regardless of whether or not you choose “you all” or “all of you,” it’s important to understand that “you” can be plural or singular. You can use the word “you” when you are addressing one person. “All” is needed when “you” is referring to more than one person in order to make it clear that you are referring to everyone in that group.
Not everything pertaining to English grammar is clear-cut. This is easy to see with “you all” and “all of you.” Someone who isn’t proficient in grammar may not notice the difference, but there is one.
When in doubt, it’s best to go with the more formal way of speaking when you can. However, in everyday conversation, either form of the phrase is completely acceptable when you’re using the term in the right way.