We or Us – What’s the Difference?

Pronouns are useful because they allow writers to add variety to sentences. Even though there is a fixed number of pronouns in English, it sometimes seems that there is an infinite number of ways to categorize them. Pronouns can be singular or plural; first, second, or third person; or objective or subjective.

Us and we belong in many of the same categories: they are both first person plural pronouns. However, one is an object pronoun, and the other is a subject pronoun.

Continue reading to learn more about these words.

What is the Difference Between We and Us?

In this post, I will compare we vs. us. I will use each word in at least one example sentence, so you can see it in its proper context.

Plus, I will show you a memory tool that you can use as a reminder of whether us or we is the word you need.

When to Use We

we versus usWhat does we mean? We is a pronoun. Specifically, it is a first person plural pronoun, so it refers to a group of people that includes the speaker or writer.

We is nongendered and does not specify quantity: it doesn’t matter who is in the group or how large it is. As long as there are two or more people in it, we is the pronoun to use.

For example,

  • “We play for keeps,” said a member of the school’s Pokemon club.
  • “Thank you for your email; we will be in touch with you shortly,” said the reply from the homeowner’s association.
  • We check them, on average, 47 times a day — 82 times if you’re between 18 and 24 years old, according to recent data. –The New York Times

Pronouns take the place of nouns in sentences. There are many different types of pronouns, but the relevant types in this article are subject and object pronouns.

We is a subject pronoun. The subjective case refers to nouns and pronouns that perform the action in a sentence; intuitively, subject pronouns are the grammatical subjects of the sentence.

When to Use Us

Definition of us definition of we definitionWhat does us mean? Us is also a first person plural pronoun. Like we, us refers to a group of more than two people, and it is also nongendered.

The difference between we and us is that we is a subject pronoun, and us is an object pronoun. Object pronouns are the grammatical object of sentences. They receive the action of the verb.

For example,

  • “Give us this day our daily bread,” prayed the monk.
  • “This is what you get when you mess with us,” the singer reminded his audience.
  • What matters is we need to go out on the ice, we’ve come up with a plan that we feel is going to be effective, is going to give us a chance to win. –New York Post

Trick to Remember the Difference

Define us and define weAlthough we and us are both first person plural pronouns, they cannot be freely interchanged.

  • We is a subject pronoun.
  • Us is an object pronoun.

What’s an easy way to remember us vs. we?

We rhymes with another subject pronoun, he. Even though we is a first person plural pronoun and he is a third person singular pronoun, that these words rhyme is your clue that they are both subject pronouns.

Summary

Is we or us? We and us are both first person plural pronouns. Pronouns take the place of nouns in sentences. Both we and us refer to groups of two or more people that include the speaker or writer.

  • We is a subject pronoun, which means it is used as the subject of sentences.
  • Us is an object pronoun; it is used as an object in sentences.
  • They are never interchangeable.