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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: (YN), yn, your name, Reader-Insert
Related: Imagine, personal
See Also: Mary Sue, self insertion, Self-Shipping
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Y/N (short for "Your name") is a genre of fanfiction, common in Tumblr, Wattpad and Twitter imagines in younger fandoms, where the writer lets the reader insert themselves into the story: "Y/N" (or "(YN)" and other variations) is meant to be replaced by the reader's name while reading. Y/N imagines are usually het.

While this genre is not new, specific usage of "Y/N" seems recent; it appears that a few occurrences on Twitter began in 2011.[1]

Second person/reader insert fic as a genre was also common on Quizilla in the mid-2000s. This type of fiction had to have been around long enough for it to have been banned at Fanfiction.net in 2005.


Y/N can be used in a variety of ways. It is sometimes used in the paratext but doesn't appear in the story itself:

Yn Imagines

Stories of you and your favourite superstar!! Any age any person!![2]

It can be used by readers to name the type of story they are requesting:

Y/n and Dan go to a party, and they both get really drunk and play spin the bottle with a few of their other youtube friends (you can pick who), and Dan and Y/n have to kiss, and they end up making out and it’s really hot for both of them. Later on the two of them meet up again and have really hot sex.[3]

It can appear only in the dialogue tags, with the rest of the story being written in the second person, or appear in dialogue meant to be spoken by the characters:

#Imagine Ryan:i got invited to (yn)'s party justin. Justin:HA I GOT THE FIRST INVITATION! Ryan: show off[4]

You saw it, it was your old tumblr theme, how did he find it? You had forgotten all about, so why would it come and creep out now when your relationship was going really well?

“Don’t worry, I read all of them.” He chuckled when he saw how panicked you were.

“What?!” You looked up at him. “This can’t be happening, oh my god, why?”

“Would you stop worrying like that, It’s cute (YN)!” He tapped over to the empty spot on the sofa next to him for you to sit.[5]

Y/N can be used in other languages, like in this French imagine (where "HA" is Harry Styles):

Il te sourit timidement avant de poser vos tasses vides sur le sol. Ton portable sonne, c'est ton ex, Jawad. Tu jette le portable sur le lit.

- HA : C'est qui ?
- YN : Mon ex...
- HA : Oh putain ! Tu va pour répondre, mais il se jette sur ton portable et décroche.
Harry, alors t'avise pas de rappeler, c'est clair ?!. C'est ça, très bien. Aurevoir.
Il raccroche et te rends ton portable.[6]


Y/N vs Mary Sue


The usage remained common on Tumblr by 2022, though it could be confusing to fans who were unfamiliar with the format:

@stereoroo: months now I’ve been seeing “character x y/n” and thinking the y/n stood for “yes/no” and my friend just told me it stands for “your name” aksjdkdsls

@masksarehot: I read this as Character X: yes/no? Would have assumed some sort of smash or pass interactive thing...

@stereoroo tweet & replies, Aug 3, 2022

Meta/Further Reading


  1. ^ "yn imagine" Twitter search, retrieved Sept 20, 2014.
  2. ^ JacobsJewels_ Yn Imagines, posted 2013, retrieved Sept 20, 2014.
  3. ^ imaginethebandtubers, Imagines I Am Currently Working On, posted ??, retrieved Sept 20, 2014.
  4. ^ (YN) Bieber @CienImagines, Tweet, posted March 1, 2012, retrieved Sept 20, 2014.
  5. ^ imaginexmexnaked, Amazingphil Imagine - Finding Out, posted Jan 21, 2013, retrieved Sept 20, 2014.
  6. ^ 1D-imagines-directioner, Imagine avec Harry ..., posted Feb 26, 2013, retrieved Sept 20, 2014.