Date: Wed, 18 Jan 1995 14:40:00 EST

From: "Dennis.Preston" 22709MGR[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MSU.EDU

Subject: 2 pl

You guys (informal, gender unspecific) is well-established here in southern

lower Michigan. It is, I suspect, not related to any Southern substratum,

however, since the primary users are young, female, lower to upper middle

class, majority group with no southern backgrounds (as in some

European-American groups in Michigan).

Edgar's suspicion that a server in a restaurant might refer to patrons this

way is correct, but it would be very much dependent on the poshness of the

place (where it would be out of line in any place with any pretension

whatsoever). Moreover, I think there would have to be some social solidarity

among speakers (even server - patrons) before it would be used. A young server

(even in a casual place) would not use you guys on older patrons.

I also do not know the limits of southern Michigan all set, particularly

useful in service encounters. After you have read a menu, a server will ask

all set (are you ready to order). After your food comes, he or she will again

enquire all set (do you have what you want), after you have stuffed yourself,

another all set means can the plates be taken away now; a later all set means,

of course, should I bring the bill. It is easy to see how this was extended

from the older all set (the one I use), which means something like is a

groupnow ready to engage in some sort of activity or take some sort of action,

but I found it odd (and hard to explain the oddness of to local users, who, of

course, could not imagine that one would say anything else in the


This all set, by the way, is not casual (like you guys). I have heard it in

the poshest places (when I have been taken there, rarely, of course, and never

more than once so my testimony on this aspect may be questionable. Those who

know Lansing will, on the other hand, know that posh restaurant is


Anybody else out there struck by this all set?

Dennis Preston