I’ve heard it used a million times and each time it grates a nerve. Now, I’m no grammar whore, but the improper use of “us” has been abused long enough!
Often this humble pronoun is found in sentences such as, “Us girls like going to the movies.” or “Us guys play games all the time.” It has become so commonly used that most no longer notice the error. Oh, the slow death of the English language.
When you actually write out these phrases as I have below, you soon see that they don’t even flow well. There is something slightly … off … about them.
Improper use of “us” in a sentence
How can you figure out if they’re correct? Try saying the sentence but leave out the noun and see how it flows.
With the noun “girls” and “guys”
Us girls like going to the movies.
Us guys play games all the time.
Without the noun “girls” and “guys”
Us like going to the movies.
Us play games all the time.
The second set of sentences without the noun sound like caveman speak. You’re gonna tell me that sounds normal?
Proper use of “we” in place of “us” in a sentence
So, what would be the proper word to use in place of “us” in the examples above? Why, the wonderful word, “we”, of course.
We girls like going to the movies.
We guys play games all the time.
To verify if this is correct, take out the nouns “girls” and “guys” again and you will get
We like going to the movies.
We play games all the time.
See? Much better, right?
Proper use of “us” in a sentence
But there is a proper way of using “us” by pairing it with the preposition “with”. Let’s use a variation of the sentences we used earlier
Come to the movies with us girls.
Come play a game with us guys.
There are two ways to verify the proper use of “us”: 1) drop the object nouns “girls” and “guys” to see if the remaining sentence still makes sense, or 2) replace “us” with “we” and you can see how it doesn’t work.
When dropping the object nouns
Come to the movies with us.
Come play a game with us.
The sentences still make sense even without the nouns.
When replacing “us” with “we”
Come to the movies with we girls.
Come play a game with we guys.
We don’t use “with we” and it sounds funny, anyway. Instead, “with us” is the proper usage.
Easy like Sunday morning
Phew! Hopefully that will clear up this “us” issue and this post has now made the world a better place. Now we writers can rest easy