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Which one is correct?

  • 'We Americans like baseball,' or
  • 'Us Americans like baseball'?

Why would you prefer one over the other? I'm thinking of a situation where people from different countries are talking about differences in their cultures. Thanks!

Edit. The question linked as a possible duplicate is more related to the expression all of us than to we vs us in the context of my question.

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    That is an apposition. Also: subject verb predicate. us cannot be a subject.
    – Lambie
    Dec 2, 2021 at 22:44
  • Does this answer your question? "We all teachers" or "All us teachers" Dec 3, 2021 at 17:26
  • Both are pretty rare in spoken language these days, to be honest.
    – hunter
    Dec 3, 2021 at 20:17
  • @FumbleFingers Not really, but thanks for the reference. I think James K answer is more clear than the answers in that thread.
    – numberfive
    Dec 3, 2021 at 21:23

3 Answers 3

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Both will be heard, but "we" is better.

We Americans like change. It is at once our weakness and our strength. W. Somerset Maugham

The book then corroborates a story that we Americans like to tell ourselves Maxine Swann

Examples of "Us Americans" are harder to find, because Google interprets it as an abbreviation of "United States Americans". However, here are some examples with "Canadians":

Us Canadians like to call it the TSN turning point. twitter

As you probably expect, there is a wide range of topics us Canadians like to discuss... quora

You will notice that there is a big difference in the quality of these sources. The use of "We Americans" comes from writers with a reputation, whereas the use of "Us Americans" is in casual internet postings.

The formal and "correct" usage is "We Americans".

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    @numberfive To elaborate: "We" is grammatically correct in these examples because it's the subject. Remove "Americans" from the examples and the choice is clear: "We like basketball" vs "Us like basketball." But if it were the object, "us" would be the correct choice: "Basketball is important to us Americans." A completely separate topic is whether it's preferable to be strictly correct; you might "prefer" the non-grammatical choice because you're in a context in which it's the established idiomatic practice. Dec 2, 2021 at 21:07
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    (JamesK, might be nice to edit to include the grammatical basis of why "we" is the right choice here, and to avoid implying that it's always the right choice in all constructions, and I can delete my comment. Unless you disagree.) Dec 2, 2021 at 21:10
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    @JamesK Well, the beauty of language is that you can like or dislike any of it, and indeed can use whatever constructions you want. You did ask what's correct, though, and if you choose constructions based on personal preference, your hearers might not have the same preference. There's nothing magical about "correct" grammar; it's all based on fairly arbitrary opinions and whims, but it's the opinions and whims that entire societies agree on over time. Meanwhile... Dec 2, 2021 at 21:25
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    Meanwhile, I would respectfully argue that yes, the pronoun we is the subject, and that "Americans" is an appositive. Ultimately, the nominative and accusative inflection of pronouns isn't a matter of personal opinion (though accepting such a usage can be). Dec 2, 2021 at 21:29
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    @AndyBonner That's interesting. I grew up in Connecticut and it's definitely one of those things I mostly consciously scrubbed from my speech at some point... but "we guys like basketball," for instance, still sounds a little pretentious to my ear over "us guys," with the mixed register.
    – Casey
    Dec 3, 2021 at 19:38
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In these examples, "We Americans" would be the grammatically correct choice because it's the subject. Remove "Americans" from the examples and the choice is clear:

We like basketball.
(vs...)
Us like basketball.

But if it were the object, "us" would be the correct choice:

Basketball is important to us Americans.

These are the options if you want to be strictly grammatically correct, but you might prefer a different construction. Many regions, cultures and contexts consistently use constructions that differ from the official grammatical rules, including using "us" with an appositive even in a subject ("Us Americans like basketball"). Language is not a matter of universal moral absolutes, though, so using an "incorrect" construction is not "wrong," especially if it's what's expected and accepted in the context you're in. What's most important is for your intended meaning to be understood. So one might "prefer" "Us Americans [verb]" simply because it's commonly used in their context.

Note, the opposite idiomatic practice doesn't really happen: No one (that I know of) says "Basketball is important to we Americans."

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    Actually, I hear a lot of hypercorrection involving "we" and "I" where "us" or "me" would be appropriate. "Please send that memo to Alice and Bob and I" is ubiquitous in business speak. I have taken to saying " to Alice and Bob and to me".
    – CCTO
    Dec 3, 2021 at 22:13
  • @CCTO Agreed; I mentioned that in comments on the other answer. Here, I was just noting that you don’t often hear “we” used for an object in this sort of appositive construction. Dec 4, 2021 at 0:16
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The "us Americans" is partly an assertion of folksiness, or anti-intellectuality, etc. "Just good ol' boys"... yes, with some baggage...

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  • I wouldn't say that exactly; many people just use it without meaning much of anything by it. That said, sure, they might meet negative judgment by others for using an "uneducated" form.
    – Casey
    Dec 5, 2021 at 5:17

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