“We: No, not you. Us.”

A friend decided to rant the other day: why doesn’t English distinguish between different kinds of “we” and “us?” If you tell your friend “We’re going to the mall,” how are they supposed to know whether they’re invited or not?

Interestingly enough, it’s pretty rare for languages to make the distinction, even though it seems really useful! In some languages, like one found in Brazil, you have a special pronoun if you are including the person you’re speaking to, but the “we” that excludes them is the same as the word for “I.” Other languages have separate words for both the inclusive and exclusive, like Chamorro (a language found in Guam).


Inclusive/Exclusive Distinction in Independent Pronouns


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