Appalachian Dialect

Using the word ALL in Appalachia

The use of the word All in Appalachia

In Appalachia we use the word all in…well in all sorts of ways!

  • We often add the word all to pronouns: “I don’t know who all will be there, but I’m going down to that meeting they’re having.” or “After the food was eat they all got up and left out of there pretty quick like.”
  • We use all the for only: “That’s all the one I seen in the shed. Somebody must have took the others and never brought them back.”
  • We use the phrase, all fired to describe a state of anger or high emotion: “It made me so all fired mad I may never step through the door of that place again!”
  • We use all with the word how: “I don’t remember all how she made them, but Momma’s tomato pickles were the best you ever ate.”
  • We use all’s in place of all that: “All’s I know is I did what she told me to do. And if that ain’t good enough then I don’t know what else a body could do.”

The grammar usages above are all very common in my area of Appalachia-and in my household. When I’m writing there are 2 words that I use way too often and one of them is all. I feel the need to put all in at least every other sentence.


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  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    July 8, 2019 at 9:29 am

    I use all of these examples but the fourth one. I will especially use “all” as in “Where all have you been?”or “Who all did you see?” or “Who all wants to go with me?”

  • Reply
    June 27, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Here in PA Dutch country, we use “all” to mean that something is “all gone.” Sorry, the watermelon is all…or to a child, you might say, “It’s ally-all.

  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    October 6, 2016 at 3:56 am

    I still use 4 of these. I have heard “all how,” I don’t think I have used it.

  • Reply
    October 5, 2016 at 9:42 am

    Your example sentences always make me laugh 🙂 I try to picture the setting and the people.

  • Reply
    George Pettie
    July 1, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Excellent explanation by Ed Ammons.

  • Reply
    July 1, 2016 at 1:10 am

    I grew up a long way from Appalachia, but all I know is I grew up with most of those all usages. My parents were country folks, so perhaps all that was common beyond the mountains. I find language fascinating, so I really enjoy your language usage lessons.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    June 30, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    and Ed….had the same problem with grandchildren trying to read a birthday card with a note and signed in cursive…They stumbled but finally read it!
    I reckon finally….East Tennessee is bringing back cursive writing in schools this year! So many antique documents are written in cursive…It was easy as pie to learn along with the printed alphabet in first and second grades….why did they ever stop teaching cursive…betcha’ politics and money is involved somewhere….
    That’s All Folks!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    June 30, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    While my friend, Monte Kit, mowed for me today, I picked up things and moved all the vehicles for him. I have a “grabber” that allows me to pick up stuff without bending over. Anyway, soon as we came back inside, I heard “New Birth” on our local radio station. I told Monte Kit to just listen to Paul and Pap and the Gang for a jiffy. After it went off, he said “all them Wilsons can really sing!” …Ken

  • Reply
    June 30, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Here in Lancaster County, you commonly hear…”it’s all” meaning it’s gone. All gone. Or to a little child you might say, “it’s all-ey all”. I enjoy your grammar posts! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    June 30, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    well, don’t that beat all……….

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    June 30, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    I haven’t realized until now how often I the word “all”. I think this is a good one, all fired up.

  • Reply
    Suzann Ledford
    June 30, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    Love this! This usage might fall under “all that,” but I’ve heard Mom use it in sentences like, “Oh, you know Brenda. She’s the one that got sick and all.” Now that I think about it, it almost always comes at the end of the sentence 🙂

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 30, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    When we are writing we perceive imperfections that we don’t even notice when we speak. You have a problem with too many alls. I worry about thats. I put that in my first sentence but do I need that that? Or the word even, did I even need even in that sentence or even in this one?
    The problem most of us have is that we learned a written language that is very different from the one we speak. We studied the written language in school so we think we must strive to follow its guidelines. No one ever studied their spoken language in school because each of us has a language we created ourselves as infants or perhaps before. We learned from our parents, grandparents and other family members. We learned from friends and total strangers. We learned from the worst of all babysitters, the TV. That unique language is crucial to the development of our brains. As unique as our DNA. It is the language we think in. Even identical twins raised together do not speak exactly the same language.
    Then we go to school and for 17 years thereafter teachers try to tell us our language is corrupt. Maybe so, but so is theirs. They teach us that we are wrong in how we speak which goes against our very nature. It causes conflicts in our psyche which manifests as social and mental disorders.
    The other day I asked my son to read an old handwritten document that I had on my computer monitor. He said he couldn’t. I said, “Get in closer.” “It’s not that, Dad. I can see it, I just can’t read it.” “Why?” “It’s in cursive. I can’t read in cursive.” This is a kid who memorized the part of Christopher Columbus for a school play. His part was half of the play and not only did he memorize his part, he memorized the parts of all the other actors, who had only one or two lines. It was he, not the teacher, who prompted the other children when they stumbled on their lines. This kid, this day, cannot read cursive. I helped him with homework all through school without realizing that he couldn’t read or write in cursive. Shame on me! And shame on the school system.
    It is coming up on the 4th of July. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution which we celebrate at this time is written and signed in cursive. I wonder how many of today’s youngsters, on whose shoulders the future rests, will be able to read these hallowed documents.
    Sorry I got off the subject a little bit!

  • Reply
    June 30, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    When I was just a little thing, I remember Daniel Boone Wright coming to our revival. He and his wife had a Cafe just beyond the Topton Bridge, and you could hear that ole booger singing above the crowd “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood flowing from Emmanuel’s Veins.” After he finished and on his way out, I heard him say “youn’ze Come.” I recon he was about half “lit.” …Ken

    • Reply
      July 8, 2019 at 9:12 am

      Ken. “Youn’ze” was said a lot by my folks. There were right on the KY/TN border by I-75.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    June 30, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Well, alls I know is that it’s hotter than Hades and if it doesn’t rain soon every thing is going to be all burned up! We all better be praying for some rain.
    Good one Tipper, I have never thought of how all I use all.

  • Reply
    June 30, 2016 at 11:21 am

    And many times I hear, “You’ns”. You’ns better get to bed .

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    June 30, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Yes, all of those are part of my vocabulary — and Mike McLain got it just right about the use of you all!

  • Reply
    June 30, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Sometimes it takes Tipper to bring a commonly used word to our attention that we use incorrectly or unnecessarily. I’m wondering who ‘n all reading this adds an ‘n. I don’t know who ‘n all will admit it.

  • Reply
    June 30, 2016 at 9:21 am

    I grew up using “all” in all ways mentioned not only in your blog but also in your reader responses so far – family still does!
    (thought maybe I wouldn’t be at the tail end of your responses today but your readers are most all early, early risers!

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    June 30, 2016 at 9:09 am

    My favorite is when I hear a Northerner trying to imitate a Southerner’s use of you all or y’all. They will say something like, “Y’all need to tie your shoe.” Southerners would not use “y’all” when speaking specifically to a person about an issue that involves only that person.
    A Southerner uses you to address the singular person being spoken to exclusively. Y’all is inclusive or plural, implying you and your family or friends or the collective group of people around you. I might say, “You need to tie your shoe. Why don’t y’all (you and your wife and kids) come over for supper?”
    It makes perfect sense. The English language does not differentiate betweem singular “you” and plural “you”. We took care of that shortcoming in the South.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    June 30, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Well, when all is said and done, we all talk right expressive-live. Those who ain’t a-knowin’ of all our sayins are missing out on a heap of mountain larnin’!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 30, 2016 at 8:44 am

    Some of those I’m familiar with but as usual have no real sense of how much I actually use them. Sometimes we say “the world and all” to double up on the idea of ‘everybody everywhere’. I guess that would be the same as “all y’all” wouldn’t it ?

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    June 30, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Or as I have heard June, All Y’all. I use most of these phrases somethnes slightly differently but use them.

  • Reply
    roger fingar
    June 30, 2016 at 8:10 am

    For us crackers, the usage of “all” doesn’t escape coupling it with y’all, for emphasis, of course. E.g. “I wanna see ALL y’all at the meeting tonight!”
    I have to say, I love your word and language use pieces. It’s like getting an unexpected snack popped under your nose. Thanks for making all your posts so varied and interesting!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 30, 2016 at 8:01 am

    Yep, Tip, I hear all your examples. Guess it’s just an all round good word that covers allst you ever wanted to know.

  • Reply
    June 30, 2016 at 7:43 am

    I wanted a piece of pie, but it was all!!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    June 30, 2016 at 4:50 am

    Bubba’s car is makin’ a racket, he shore needs to add a couple of cans of all (oil) ‘fore it locks up!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    June 30, 2016 at 4:45 am

    Did I miss something…or did you forget “yall” (you all)? More commonly used around here like…
    “Well lookee who’s here, we haint’ seed the Joneses in a coons age! How y’all doin’?”
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS….I’m up early. a’lookin for dew….The humidity is so low at our place, I’m sure there’s no dew…
    Feels nice….but we need rain!

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