We vs. Us

'We' is a subject pronoun used as the subject of sentences. 'Us' is an object pronoun used as an object in a sentence. But can they be interchangeable?

"We" vs. "Us" in the English Grammar

Main Similarity

'We' and 'us' are both pronouns, but they take different parts in a sentence. Here, we will discuss the similarities and differences between these two.

We: Subject Pronoun

'We' is the first-person plural pronoun. It is used as the subject of a verb.
When the subject of a sentence (the one that does the action of the verb) is 'I plus one or more people' we use the pronoun 'we'.

{We = I + you}

We must leave now. It's getting late.

We would love to come to your wedding.

Referring to People

'We' can also refer to a group of people in general, despite their gender or number.

We must all care about our planet Earth.

Academic or Scientific Texts

Especially in academic or scientific texts, writers or lecturers use 'we' instead of 'I' to involve the readers or listeners in the process of what they are saying.

Now we will proceed to the systematic approach to surgical treatment of the disease.

The Royal We

Especially in the past, kings, queens, judges, etc. used 'we' instead of 'I' to refer to themselves. This is called 'the royal we' or 'majestic plural'. Though, nowadays, this rarely happens and mostly is used humorously.

We shall have him executed.

Sarcasm or Encouragement

Sometimes, when people want to be sarcastic or condescending; or they want to sound persuasive or encouraging, they use 'we' instead of 'you'.

We're not answering our phones now, aren't we? (sarcastic)

Shall we put on our clothes and get ready? (encouraging, for example to a child)


If we want to clearly refer to a group of people and we want to put emphasis on that, we can put 'we' before nouns.

We teachers are sadly underpaid and unappreciated.

We all swear to secrecy.


'Us' is the first-person plural pronoun. It is used as the object of a verb or a preposition or after the verb be.

{Us= me + you}

Let's look at some examples:

Do you remember us? We're your upstairs neighbors. (direct object)

Tam showed us a picture of her daughter. (indirect object)

There was a giant man sitting in front of us. (object of preposition)

It could be us. Who knows? We can be the winners this year. (predicative)

People in General

Sometimes, 'us' can be used to refer to people in general.

All of us will have a responsibility toward hungry children all across the world.

Academic Contexts

A lecturer or writer might use 'us' instead of 'me' in academic or scientific contexts in order to get the audience or readers involved in the process.

That brings us back to the statement on chapter 4.

The Royal Us

Traditionally, kings, queens, judges, etc. used 'us' instead of the singular object pronoun 'me' to refer to themselves.

That made us happy. Reward him greatly.

Emphasizing a Particular Group

If you are referring to some sort of group and you want to emphasize that particular group, you can use 'us' before the noun.

For us boys everything can be an adventure.

God forgives us all.

'Us' instead of 'Me'

'Us' can sometimes be used instead of 'me', especially in British English. Note that this usage of 'us' is NOT grammatically correct and is NOT standard English.

I've missed you. Give us a hug!

'Us' instead of 'Ourselves'

'Us' sometimes can be used instead of 'ourselves' especially in some dialects of American English.

We've got to get us out of here!


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