and you/you too

Better Half and I spent the first part of the long Easter weekend (two bank holidays, woo-hoo!) in the picturesque village of Rye, East Sussex. The first day, we made the mistake of having a big lunch, which left us uninterested in dinner until too late to do anything about it, so the next day we skipped lunch and had some locally-made ice cream instead (woo-hoo-hoo). At the end of our ice cream transaction, the following exchange occurred:

Ice cream man: Have a good afternoon!

[Nearly simultaneously:]
BH: And you!
Me: You too!
Each response is understood to represent a whole proposition/sentence, but in each case a slightly different part of the understood proposition is omitted:
BrE: And you [have a good afternoon].
AmE: You [have a good afternoon] too.
It struck me that BH's and my responses here followed in the pattern that we saw back in the discussion of me (n)either and nor I, with the Brit preferring a conjunction+pronoun and the American a pronoun + adverb. That's all I have to say about it really...that there's a pattern! Like most linguists, I love patterns.


  1. "And you," sounds odd to me because I hear 'you' as the object of an assumed preposition [`and (to) you (as well)'], and I think English likes to have a subject, even when we have to make one up out of whole cloth [`it's raining', e.g.]

  2. Like so much BrE, "And you" sounds overly formal to AmE ears. When I read it above, my first though was of a Christian church service where one would often hear:

    Leader: Lord be with you.
    Response: And also with you.

    Feels very ceremonial, not at all like natural AmE speach.

  3. "like natural AmE speach": I had thought that the whole point of this blog is to explain that different people find different sorts of speech "natural".

  4. Not about AmE and BrE, but about Rye. The home of EF Benson, author of the Lucia and Mapp novels. Yum!

  5. dearieme - My point was that I hear a word structure similar to "and you" commonly, but not in everday speech. Even if you hear it a lot, it still sounds scripted and not natural (as opposed to other differences that we have discussed that one would not hear at all).

  6. I sometimes say "likewise" but I suspect that's influenced by the Spanish "igualmente" used in those circumstances.

  7. It's funny someone mentioned the "Lord be with you/And also with you" exchange so common in Catholicism as sounding formal, because I've often read criticisms of it being too *informal* compared to the more literal translation of the Latin, which renders the exchange as "The Lord be with you/And with thy spirit."

    Actually, as a side note, in a year or so a completely new English translation of the Catholic mass is going to be put out, and everyone is going to have to get used to saying "And with your spirit" instead of "and also with you." The new translation is going to have a lot of formal-sounding language "added" back in, so it's no surprise that one of the critisms some of the American bishops have had is that the new translation "sounds too British." Though, I personally am very exited about it, anyone who compares the Latin texts and traditional English translations to what is currently used instantly sees that the translation is awful as awful can be.

    er...sorry if I went off topic a little.

  8. Yes, that's the traditional version, but the Anglican prayerbook in current use has "...and also with you."

    Kate (Derby, UK)


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AmE = American English
BrE = British English
OED = Oxford English Dictionary (online)