In a Relationship, 'We' Means 'You'

Too many couples take the semantic easy way out
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2010 1:04 PM CST
Who's the "we" in this situation?   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – One member of a couple will often suggest that “we” do something, but that’s not what she—oh, yes, it's usually she—is really saying, and it’s not helpful, Beth Teitell writes. ‘‘We’ has turned into an order. It’s morphed from the first person plural into the command form of the second person singular.” This phenomenon prompted one man to ask his girlfriend: “By ‘we,’ do you mean me or you?”

Some of the guilty try to rationalize the usage, Teitell writes in the Boston Globe. The use of “we” is “to trick your wife into thinking you’re contributing,” one man admits. “But I don’t know how successful that is.” Not a bit, an expert says. "It’s irritating. The whole ‘should’ doesn’t work very well.” Just say what you mean. Or adopt the approach of a woman who gives her husband one shot before clarifying: "In case you’re wondering, that was the royal we."

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