Jul 15, 2004


How often, really, should the term be ‘we” be used in a sentence?True, language development in almost very tongue has endowed us with the plural for a reason. And there are many occasions in which speaking for a group, a few, or simply one plus yourself makes perfect sense.
“We will be there at 5”
“ There we were, fighting off the great grey mongoose…"
”“Are we ALL going to have to take a drug test?”

But it seems I hear people speak for others with alarming frequency, giving up their natural right to speak their mind, and their mind alone.The time this most offends me is when opinion or emotion are at play.
“We are upset”
“We have been meaning to talk to you”
“We don’t really like Italian food”
“We enjoy a light comedy”
“We believe in the right to bear arms”
Sure, there are times when group sentiment should be expressed, and there are moments when the capacity to speak for more than yourself has naturally been endowed upon you: when you have a child, or are the elected leader of an organization, when you are…royal. Then you are, indeed, using we not just with permission but with connivance.
But I always find it off-putting when I am in a social situation and someone busts a “we” on me when a discussion of politics, or personal tastes, or emotional currents are at play. I suddenly feel outnumbered.I also find myself automatically questioning the health and legitimacy of assuming such backing exists. When expressing my thoughts I’ve always found it important to do an internal evaluation of what thoughts and emotions and mine, and mine alone, and then clear any statements with my group or partner, to clarify accuracy and origin, before expressing something we all, or we both agree upon.
I know, it seems petty. But I think it’s important to realize that most conversations are one on one. They are interactions between two distinct individual intellects drawing up in unique experience and opinion.  It’s overwhelming to approach an individual and find you have entered a crowd. I mean, I’ve always found crowds a little daunting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes...we are getting pissed at all this togetherness