You got your X and you got your Y

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed Dec 16 02:29:58 UTC 2009

Grant Barrett wrote:
> ....
> For example, in one of my son's "Curious George" films, there's a scene in which someone is telling someone else about Christmas trees and says something like, "You got your pines, you got your cedars, you got your soft pines and your hard pines" etc., etc. Any number of examples can be found online.
> It's highly informal, kind of the mirror image of "one" in the third person singular. It tends to happen when one party is impart information or details to another.
> Any notion where there's something written about this? Or what it might be called? Or do you have any opinions about it?

I guess "there is X" = "one has X" = "you have X", where "you" is
indefinite (= "one"). I don't know why the apparently superfluous or
pleonastic "your" is there. [The form without "your" also occurs: e.g.,
"you got pines, you got cedars, ...".] Of course "you got" = "you have
got" = "you've got" = "you have" and I consider it essentially the same
construction with any of these. No doubt others know much more than I.

Quick Google shows it has been around for a while. [One must be careful
to seek only cases with indefinite "you": something like "you have your
money, you have your big house, but not everybody is so fortunate" with
second-person "you" is not at all the same thing (IMHO).]

Here is the earliest example I've found which looks (to me) probably
legitimate, from a James Howell letter dated 1621, here collected in a
1688 edition (here the "you" should be indefinite since the writer is
describing his own home and not that of the addressee):

<<Now for the Gardning and costly choice Flowers, for Ponds, for stately
large Walks, green and gravelly, for Orchards and choice Fruits of all
sorts, there are few the like in _England_; here you have your _Bon
Christien-Piear_ and _Bergamot_ in Perfection, your Muscadel-Grapes in
such Plenty, that there are some Bottles of Wine sent every Year to the

-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society -

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