November Quick Tip
Problems with Pronouns: We
Pronouns – words like I, you, they – have an important job in English. They save us time and effort, so we don’t have to repeat names over and over in the same story. But “we” can be a tricky one. There are some important rules to remember to get it right.
1. Who is “we”?
A pronoun only works when it is clear who you mean. If someone asks you:
“What did you do this weekend?”
You can’t start your reply with:
“We went to Prague.”
Why not? Because we = two people, and the listener doesn’t know who your second person is. Did you go with your mom, your brother or your best friend? “I” and “you” are always clear, but the other pronouns need an introduction first.
You should say:
“My brother and I went to Prague.”
And be careful about order. In English, we always say “I” last to be polite, never “I and my brother”.
2. How many people are “we”?
“We” always means two or more people, so “we” can never be only one. So what’s the problem with this sentence?
“We with my brother went to Prague.”
Well, “we” is 2 (or more) people + “my brother” is 1 person = at least 3 people, which is rarely what the speaker means. “We” only works if all people have already been introduced.
“My brother and I went to Prague. We had a great time.”
So, we – everyone at Bridge Publishing House – hope that helps!