As this blog continues to find its identity, one of the questions we have been asking ourselves is how we ought to refer to ourselves. We’ve been toying with the idea of always calling ourselves “we.”
It’s done to create a certain kind of distinction, making it clear that the speaker and the audience are not of the same kind (no offense). There are various settings where this is done; here’s a handy guide to help you recognize and understand them:
- The Royal We
This means “I”; its meant to distinguish the speaker from lesser mortals and subjects, who risk decapitation if they question royal eccentricity.
Usage: “We are bored; how long since our last war with Belgium?”
- The Managerial We
This means “You.” It separates you from The Management, who are confident you can handle the task they are delegating to “us.”
Usage: “There’s a power outage in R&D. We need to get the genetically modified saber-toothed squirrels back into their cages before the CEO gets here. Here’s a flashlight and a butterfly net.”
- The Editorial We
This means “I.” It separates the writer from the readership, whose thinking must always be done for them.
Usage: “We deplore the administration’s negligence of this ongoing crisis which experts say could kill millions, and we call for immediate government takeover of the turnip industry.” (Note: in editorialese, “experts” also means “I.”)
Because of our awesome power and even awesomer responsibilities here at World Lexicography Headquarters, we have decided to try out the Editorial We for a while. It also signifies that we are the voice of an entire organization, which has grown so vast that it includes a Head of Munitions and Ordnance. If we find it doesn’t suit us, we’ll stop. If you don’t like it, well, you’re not We.