Saturday, July 15, 2006

The "editorial we" is bogus

People who abuse the so-called "editorial we" sound like pretentious buffoons. There is actually no case where one can properly use the plural form of personal pronouns to refer only to oneself. The "editorial we" is valid, and originated, on the editorial page of a newspaper, where an (usually with no byline) editor writes an editorial the represents the paper's official opinion. The "we" refers to the editorial staff and the publisher. So it's not really a special case. And no one has any basis for referring to themself as "we" just because they write an editorial. Especially if it's by-lined with only one name.

The "royal we" is about the same. In his official capacity as the ruler, a king or queen is speaking for a number of people. That may consist of his advisors, cabinet, or the whole country. If he's not completely besotted with power, he'll use "I" for personal statements.

See Wikipedia for more information.

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