'Us' or 'we': which one should you use? Seemingly, they both mean the same thing, so what's the difference? That's what we'll explore today.
In short, 'us' is an object pronoun, while 'we' is a subject pronoun. This affects when you use each one.
'Us' and 'we' are both first-person plural pronouns. The difference between the two is that 'us' is an object pronoun, and 'we' is a subject pronoun.
What does that mean?
As you may already know, pronouns replace nouns in a sentence in order to avoid repetition. If you're looking to replace the subject noun, you should use 'we;' if you're replacing the object noun, use 'us.'
Take the following sentence as an example:
The bosses wanted the sales team back in the office as soon as possible.
Here, the subject is "the bosses," and the object is "the sales team." Let's imagine that the speaker/writer is a part of the sales team, and we wanted to replace the object noun phrase with a pronoun. We would use 'us.' It would look like this:
The bosses wanted us back in the office as soon as possible.
Conversely, let's imagine that the speaker is actually one of the bosses - the subject, therefore. Then, the sentence would look like this:
We wanted the sales team back in the office as soon as possible.
Would you like to know how to pronounce these two words? Let's start with 'us.' It's a pretty easy word to sound out and rhymes with 'plus.' So it sounds something like this:
[ uhs ]
As for 'we,' the 'e' is a long 'e,' and the word rhymes with 'bee.' It sounds like this:
[ wee ]
As for the International Phonetics Alphabet spelling, it looks like this:
/ ʌs /
/ wi /
Let's take a look at some examples of both words in sentences. We'll start with 'us.'
You didn't tell us you were leaving.
What will happen to us once we have been laid off?
He wants us to follow his orders blindly.
I don't think we should be here right now.
They'd like to know which color we prefer.
Where shall we go after dinner?
So there you have it, the difference between 'us' and 'we.' I hope this article has helped you feel more confident about your usage. Here's what we've learned:
If you'd like to learn about more confusing words like these, head over to our blog.