Learn English – Is it grammatically correct to use “we” or “us” as well as the name of a group? e.g. “A meeting of we employees went very well.”

objectssubjectsusage

Is "we + [name of group]" a grammatically correct construction?

Example:
"A meeting of we employees went very well."

Also, what about this:
"They gave donuts to us employees at the meeting."

Best Answer

Yes, it is perfectly grammatical:

We employees had a good meeting.

In English, nouns usually have some kind of determiner which precedes them. Determiners are words such as a, the, his, this, some, both, one, either, no and so forth.

You will notice that the and a are unusual determiners. The reason why is that most other words that are determiners can also be used like pronouns without a following noun:

  • Can I have some bread?
  • Can I have some?

or

  • Give me that book!
  • Give me that!

or

  • I can't give you either option.
  • I can't give you either.

It is not altogether surprising then, that there are likewise some words which are pronouns that we can also use as determiners! Specifically, the pronouns you we and us are quite often used as determiners with a following noun:

  • You bastards!
  • ...We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. (Shakespeare: King Henry V)
  • much cleverer than us mere mortals.

In informal speech we also hear phrases such as:

  • them idiots over there.

Interestingly, the fact that we use pronouns as determiners and determiners as pronouns has led some grammarians to argue either that all pronouns are determiners - or that all determiners are pronouns. In either case, if it's good enough for Shakespeare ...

I would tend to counsel that if the noun is the subject of the sentence use we X. If it isn't, use us X. However, both are seen in either position.

One last thing. Using pronouns as determiners like this is relatively unusual, and so gives quite a literary or at times informal flavour to your writing. I wouldn't use this in a formal report, for example!

Hope this is helpful!