I'm writing some informal texts with some slang words, and I've been wondering if I should put "are" after "you" in some of them:

1- "You gonna lose that key." or "You're gonna lose that key."
2- "You gonna buy that car?" or "You're gonna buy that car?"

  • 1
    @KentaroTomono "You gonna" is vernacular. Imitating a particular culture or ethnicity's vernacular is not recommended, at least until you understand all the nuances of doing it. In the wrong context it can get you into trouble, as it can be misinterpreted as mockery.
    – Andrew
    May 25, 2018 at 21:11

1 Answer 1


Before I answer the question can I note that, unless you are transcribing speech, the correct spelling is "going to". In spoken English we often say /ˈɡən.ə/, but in written English always write "going to", unless you are transcribing spoken English.

As noted by an editor of Wiktionary

This spelling, like any nonstandard spelling, risks appearing condescending. Even when going to has the pronunciation that gonna denotes, it is usually spelled . —source

Standard English Grammar requires a form of the verb "to be", so

You gonna lose that key.

is incorrect grammar. It may be acceptable in some dialects, but not in standard English.

As noted above "gonna" is not the standard spelling, so you should write

You're going to lose that key.

  • I'd be more in agreement with your answer if the OP hadn't opened with, "I'm writing some informal texts with some slang." I don't think text messages among friends need follow standard spelling or correct grammar. If a good friend texted me and said, You're gonna lose that key, I wouldn't bat an eye. Sure, I'd avoid words like gonna and wanna if I were texting my boss, but I think they are acceptable in the context specified by the OP.
    – J.R.
    May 25, 2018 at 21:29
  • I've added a source for my advice not to use "gonna", unless you understand how it will be received. A learner should know that in speech the contraction is nearly always used, but in written English the normal correct spelling is "going to"
    – James K
    May 25, 2018 at 21:34
  • While a lot of grammar prescriptivists tend to think that these are incorrect, the truth is that it is perfectly okay to use these in any and all spoken English situations. It’s even common for native speakers to use them in informal writing (to friends, online chat, text messages, etc). The only area where you should definitely not use them, is in formal written English (reports, research papers, formal e-mails, etc), in which case, you need to spell them out in long form. — source
    – J.R.
    May 25, 2018 at 21:44
  • @KentaroT - The written word and the spoken word are two different animals. Michael Jordan's speech is not really relevant to this debate; an open letter might be more pertinent. I'm largely in agreement with JamesK's advice here, although the word "always" in the opening paragraph is a bit too strong for my tastes. But we both agree that you hafta know when words like these are acceptable, and when more formal phrasings should be used instead. When in doubt, it's generally safest to skip the informalisms and write the words out in their more proper form.
    – J.R.
    May 25, 2018 at 21:55
  • @KentaroTomono - You keep linking to videos with spoken English. As much as I like basketball this time of year, those are irrelevant to this discussion. Find some written instances and we can discuss. P.S. Bill Russell wrote: I'm going to play a little golf. I'm going to become the hottest 6'9" black left-handed 16-handicap golfer to come along in years. See? No "gonnas" in his retirement letter.
    – J.R.
    May 25, 2018 at 22:07

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