Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “you”

you

pronoun (PEOPLE GENERALLY)    /juː/ // //
A2 people in general: You learn to accept these things as you get older. You can't get a driving licence till you're 17 in this country. Too much alcohol is bad for you. How do you get this thing to start?Personal pronouns Grammar:Pronouns: personal (I, me, you, him, it, they, etc.)We use personal pronouns in place of noun phrases. We often use them to refer back to people and things that we have already identified (underlined):See moreGrammar:Subject and object pronounsPersonal subject pronouns act as the subject of a clause. We use them before a verb to show who is doing the verb. We do not usually leave out the pronoun:See moreGrammar:I, meWe use I and me to refer to the speaker or writer. I is the subject form and me is the object form:See moreGrammar:YouWe use you to refer to the listener or reader. It is both the subject and the object form. You can refer to one person or more than one person. It is usually clear from the context whether you is singular or plural:See moreGrammar:He, him; she, herHe, him, she and her are singular third person pronouns. He and him are the masculine forms. She and her are the feminine forms:See moreGrammar:ItWe use it to refer to things:See moreGrammar:We, usWe use we and us to refer to different groups of people, but always including the speaker. We and us can refer to the speaker + the listener, or the speaker + other people but not the listener, or people in general including the speaker:See moreGrammar:They, themWe use they and them to refer to specific groups of people, things and animals:See moreGrammar:Pronouns: one, you, we, theyOne, you, we and they are generic personal pronouns. We can use one, you, we and they to refer to ‘people in general’.See moreGrammar:One, you and weWe can use one, you or we when we are making generalisations and not referring to any one person in particular. When used like this, one, you and we can include the speaker or writer:See moreGrammar:TheyWe can use they to talk about a wide group of people, such as an authority or an institution. In such cases, they does not refer to specific people:See more
(Definition of you pronoun (PEOPLE GENERALLY) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of you

Definitions of “you” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

closeness

the quality of knowing someone very well, liking them a lot, and wanting to spend a lot of time together

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More