Prior research indicates that children construe norms as general and construe preferences as individual. The current studies tested whether this expectation is built into how children interpret and use language. We focused on the pronoun you, which is ambiguous between a canonical interpretation (referring to the addressee) and a generic interpretation (referring to people in general). In Study 1, children (N=132, ages 3-10years) were asked a series of questions containing “you,” referring to either descriptive norms (e.g., “What do you do with bikes?”) or preferences (e.g., “What do you like to do with bikes?”). In Study 2, parents conversed with their children (N=28, ages 2-4years) about prescriptive norms (e.g., “What should you do with books?”) and preferences (e.g., “What do you like about books?”). In both studies, children’s choice of pronoun in their answer revealed whether they interpreted you in the questions as generic or canonical. Results indicated that children more often interpreted you as generic in the normative contexts (i.e., responded with generic you, e.g., “You read them”) and as canonical in the preference contexts (i.e., responded with I, e.g., “I read them”). This pattern emerged by early preschool, providing the first evidence that the distinction between norms and preferences directs young children’s interpretation and use of everyday language.