Which of these is correct:

  1. Global warming is a great threat to us people.
  2. Global warming is a great threat to we people.
  • Global warming is a great threat to us people. -- sounds okay to me. :) – F.E. Jun 15 '14 at 18:44
  • 1
    This is either proofreading, general reference, or both. It also shows no research nor hypotheses. – tchrist Jun 15 '14 at 18:47
  • Compare: "Global warming is a great threat to us people. But as to you robots, you all just need batteries and some oil." – F.E. Jun 15 '14 at 20:17
  • @tchrist This is a superb question!!!! It's a very difficult question to answer well, it's the kind of thing people write papers on, it calls into question the very status of determiners and pronouns. It's gold-dust! – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jun 15 '14 at 20:43
  • Please never just ask “Which is correct?” It shows no effort on your part, and gives us nothing to go on. As the Help Center says in its “How to ask a good question” section: “Have you thoroughly searched for an answer before asking your question? Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and above all, it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer!” Thank you. – tchrist Jul 4 '14 at 1:54
  1. Global warming is a great threat to us people.

  2. Global warming is a great threat to we people.

The first version (#1) is grammatical in today's standard English.

The second version (#2) seems to be ungrammatical (that is, unacceptable), because the word "we" is in nominative case instead of the expected accusative case. The rest of this post will be about version #1.

In your version #1, the word "us" is a personal determinative.

  1. Global warming is a great threat to [us people].

The expression inside the brackets is a noun phrase (NP). The head of that NP is the noun "people". The word "us" is the determiner of that NP.

Here are some similar examples that use personal determinatives, from CGEL page 374:

  • [5.i] [We supporters of a federal Europe] will eventually win the argument.

  • [5.ii] [You students] should form a society.

In those examples, the "We" and "You" are personal determinatives functioning as determiners (though they are in nominative case instead of accusative case that is in your example). Those determinatives are functioning as determiners within the subject NPs.

CGEL says on page 374:

  • It should be noted that the personal determinatives are exactly parallel to other definite determiners such as the demonstratives and the definite article in, for example, permitting the universal quantifier as predeterminer.

Note that CGEL is the 2002 reference grammar by Huddleston and Pullum et al., The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CGEL). Related info is in CGEL, "7.2 The personal determinatives we and you", page 374.

  • Why don't you upvote the question!!? This is a brilliant question, it brings all kinds of stuff into play - do determiners exist, do pronouns exist, it's all about linguistic snobbery, trying to make language fit the rules we're used to. It's great stuff. Upvote the question!!!!! – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jun 15 '14 at 20:48
  • @Araucaria I did upvote the question. :) – F.E. Jun 15 '14 at 21:04
  • So did I. Oh I suppose some person or other downed it. Grrrr :) – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jun 15 '14 at 21:06
  • @Araucaria You know, you can answer this if you want (as I'm having some difficulty rounding up the related info, and I be lazy). :) – F.E. Jun 15 '14 at 21:08
  • I be staying up all night preparing for a school inspection tomorrow morning. After, I'll be so stupefied you won't see me on here for a week! – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jun 15 '14 at 21:10

Us is the correct pronoun to follow the preposition to. However, a pronoun is not needed. "Global warming is a great threat to people," works just fine.


Global warming is a great threat to us people is correct; however, as Jason said, you could go without using the word "people."

The reason for this is because "US" is the object of the sentence, and therefore you need an objective case pronoun (ex: me, you, him/her/it, us, you, them). "We" is used for the nominative case (or when it is the subject of a sentence).


"Global warming is a great threat to us people." is more grammatically correct. However, this doesn't mean it is grammatically correct.

Think about the sentence without the word "people."

Global warming is a great threat to us.

Global warming is a great threat to we.

It's obvious which one sounds strange.

Omitting the word before "people" might be a better choice.

  • That was my reaction, unless (as in the comments at top) you want to explicitly distinguish the speaker from a non-person being spoken to. Or perhaps "our people" (specifying those of our culture or country or whatever) was intended. – keshlam Jun 16 '14 at 2:05

I would say that "Global warming is a great threat to us people" because it is easy to understand and quite common usage. However you could say the other version to give a more 'dramatic' meaning I suppose. Hope this helps.

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