Inclusive alternatives to “You Guys”

For decades, guys has been used to address a mixed group of men and women. It’s increasingly viewed as a gender neutral plural.

But the singular guy still has a strongly male inflection. Consider that guy, or the Python guy. Do those sound like women? Not likely.

Even today when a group of guys may be entirely female, it still can have a sexist, male-as-default ring to it. From The Boston Globe in 2010:

“You guys” may simply make some women feel overlooked or ignored, especially a single woman in a group being addressed as “you guys.” There’s a sense that even one man would short-circuit any attempt to address a group with “ladies” (except in a sarcastic-coach way), but a group made up of more than half women is easily addressed as “you guys.”

What should I say instead?

There are a lot of options.

Y’all is a fabulous all-purpose pronoun. It’s great even if you’re not a Southerner!

Are y’all going to join

Hey gang works well as a casual option.

Hi folks is a little more formal, but too folksy for some. Everyone sounds great with any audience.

Addressing the group by a label can also help, whether it’s hi team or hey friends.

Hey team, let’s finish those TPS reports.

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Push yourself to use inclusive language with a little Pavlovian donation!

Press the button to add to the tip jar whenever you accidentally say you guys. When it’s full, click to make a donation to an organization you choose, like the National Organization for Women or Girls Who Code.

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Want to read more?

You’re taking away my speech!

Nope, you can use whatever words you want.