“YOU WAS.” According to a column by Michael Skapinker in the June 16 Financial Times, there is controversy in Britain about Sir Allan Sugar being appointed to a position despite his East London accent and poor grammar. One point against him is that he used the phrase “you was” on television this year. Skapinker writes that ‘you was’ is hundreds of years old and that the usage is common today in parts of the Eastern United States as well as in East Anglia and East London. One study of an inner London district found that most of the elderly residents said “you was.” The young people in the district who were most likely to say “you were” were young Bengladeshis, probably because they were immigrants who had been taught English in school.

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One Response to “YOU WAS.”

  1. Mary Jane Schaefer says:

    Both of my parents had immigrant parents. My father’s family spoke mostly English in their home. Sometimes, their grammar wasn’t the best, and my father picked up their errors. NOT MY MOTHER. She spoke Italian at home until she entered kindergarden. She learned English as a second language at school. Her grammar was perfect for a long time. Eventually some of my father’s grammatical mistakes crept into her usage as well, probably by osmosis. Or maybe she’d gotten tired of making the mental correction every time she heard the wrong usage. Both my sister and I noticed her grammatical deterioration.

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