We is the first-person plural personal pronoun (nominative case) in Modern English.

Personal pronouns in standard Modern English
Person (gender) Subject Object Dependent possessive (determiner) Independent possessive Reflexive
First I me my mine myself
Second you your yours yourself
Third Masculine he him his himself
Feminine she her hers herself
Neuter it its itself
Epicene they them their theirs themself
First we us our ours ourselves
Second you your yours yourselves
Third they them their theirs themselves

Royal WeEdit

The royal we, or majestic plural (pluralis majestatis), is a employed by a person of high office, such as a monarch, earl, or pope.

Editorial weEdit

The editorial we is a similar phenomenon, in which an editorial columnist in a newspaper or a similar commentator in another medium refers to themselves as we when giving their opinion. Here, the writer casts themselves in the role of spokesperson: either for the media institution who employs them, or on behalf of the party or body of citizens who agree with the commentary.[1]

Author's weEdit

The author's we, or pluralis modestiae, is a practice referring to a generic third person as we (instead of one or the informal you):

  • By adding four and five, we obtain nine.
  • We are therefore led also to a definition of "time" in physics.Albert Einstein

We in this sense often refers to "the reader and the author" because the author often assumes that the reader knows and agrees with certain principles or previous theorems for the sake of brevity (or, if not, the reader is prompted to look them up).[citation needed]

This practice is discouraged in the hard sciences, social sciences, humanities, and technical writing because it fails to distinguish between sole authorship and co-authorship.[2][3][4][5]

Atypical uses of weEdit


A nosism is the use of we to refer to oneself.[6]


We is used sometimes in place of you to address a second party: A doctor may ask a patient: "And how are we feeling today?". A waiter may ask a client: "What are we in the mood for?"

A similar usage exists in other languages. For example, José Luis Properzi of Argentine rock band Super Ratones revealed that the title of their song ¿Cómo estamos hoy, eh? ("How are we today, eh?") was the greeting a taxi driver addressed to him. [7] (Regular Spanish "How are you?" greetings are ¿Cómo estás? or, in formal address, ¿Cómo está?.)

Inclusive and exclusive weEdit

Some languages, in particular the Austronesian languages, Dravidian languages, and Chinese varieties such as Min Nan and some Mandarin dialects, have a distinction in grammatical person between inclusive we, which includes the person being spoken to in the group identified as we, and exclusive we, which excludes the person being spoken to.

Many Native American languages have this grammatical distinction, regardless of the languages' families. Cherokee, for instance, distinguishes between four forms of we, following an additional distinction between duality and plurality. The four Cherokee forms of we are: "you and I (inclusive dual)"; "another and I (exclusive dual)"; "others and I (exclusive plural)"; and "you, another (or others), and I" (inclusive plural). Fijian goes even further with six words for we, with three numbers — dual, small group (one or two people), and large group — and separate inclusive and exclusive forms for each number.

In English this distinction is not made through grammatically different forms of we. The distinction is either evident from the context or can be understood through additional wording, for example through explicitly inclusive phrasing (we all) or through inclusive let's. The phrase let us eat is ambiguous: it may exclude the addressee, as a request to be left alone to eat, or it may include the addressee, as an invitation to come and eat, together. Let us ranges from the extremely formal (e.g., Let us pray) to the relatively informal; the less formal the usage, the more likely the usage is to be exclusive. This (somewhat) less formal use of let us contrasts directly with the even more informal contracted form let's (e.g., Let's eat), which is always inclusive.


Inclusive we:

  • We can all go to the villain's lair today.

Exclusive we:

  • We mean to stop your evil plans!


  1. ^ "editorial we". TheFreeDictionary.com.
  2. ^ Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (4 ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 1994. p. 30. ISBN 1557982414.
  3. ^ Blanpain, Kristin (2008). Academic Writing in the Humanities and Social Sciences: A Resource for Researchers. Leuven: Voorburg. p. 43.
  4. ^ Wallwork, Adrian (2014). User Guides, Manuals, and Technical Writing: A Guide to Professional English. New York: Springer. p. 153.
  5. ^ Goldbort, Robert (2006). Writing for Science. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. p. 18.
  6. ^ "A.Word.A.Day – nosism". Retrieved 11 January 2008.
  7. ^ Un Super Ratón suelto en Pergamino (retrieved March, 5 2018)

External linksEdit

  • Baker, Peter S. 'Pronouns'. In Peter S. Baker. The Electronic Introduction to Old English. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003, c. 5.