Site Feedback

" you" are formal or informal ?

In russian we say "Вы" to those who are older or to strangers (formal) and "ты" to friends or the same age (informal) but in english there is only "you". What do you think about it?
I've always been interested in this...



In English "you" is formal and informal, in Spanish "tú" is informal and "usted" is formal.

well yeah  i started learn russian language and found very different things

you know like  in russian language as well in Hindi (indian) language  we say  "tu" or tum  in informal  way  and  "aap" in formal way.  

And one more thing here people dont call the father's name in the end of any person's name like in russian  do :) 

and yeah in english we just  "you"  in informal or in formal  way , so i think its good  :)

Once upon a time in English was ward thou which means ты but course of time it was forgot. 
William Shakespeare wrore: 
Have more than thou showest
Speak less than thou knowest 

Well, the tone of the rest of the dialog can make it formal or informal.


very formal : " How are you on this fine day, sir?"

formal: "Hello, how are you?"

Somewhat informal "hey, how are you?"

casual:  'what's up with you, man?"


so we don't really need various forms of the same pronoun.


I agree with SteeveMP, it can get too complicated for nothing. In French we have tu & vous and I've heard people using both in the same sentence when they didn't know what to choose (not wanting to be disrespecful, but not wanting the other one to feel old either) so it can get silly complicated!

an interisting topic, in my country, there are different words for an older person, or a formal situation. Ex ; You, Anda for Formal situation and for talk to the older person, Kamu for netral, and Lu for very informal situation (talk to close friends)


We used to have an informal form called: "Thou" but it's not used anymore. It's akin to Icelandic "Þú" and German and Scandinavian "du".  Nowadays, it depends on how you word "you" that determines whether or not it's formal or informal. SteveMP provided some great examples. 


it's just language...I have use polite form only to hear people say it too formal


you can loath just as much on polite as you can in familiar

Yes, Alice, in English we have only one 'you', but it's the rest of language you use and and how it's said that makes if formal, informal, respectful or otherwise.

Add a comment