What is the correct grammar for this sentence fragment:

She needed we the taxpayers to pay....

She needed us the taxpayers to pay....

because without "the taxpayers", the correct sentence would be:

She needed us to pay....


She needed us the taxpayers to pay....

doesn't sound correct. But I could be wrong. That's why I'm asking ;-)

  • 8
    Us is correct for the reason you mentioned. I would add commas to mark the parenthesis: she needed us, the taxpayers, to pay... Jan 6 '16 at 2:48
  • The pronoun is the subject of the infinitive "to pay." The formal rules say that such a role takes the objective case. So it's us.
    – deadrat
    Jan 6 '16 at 4:16

One would only ever say, "She needed us to pay," not, "She needed we to pay." As such, you would definitely write, "us."

As for grammar, if you want to clarify that by "us" you mean "the tax payers," then you would write, "She needed us, the tax payers, to pay." The phrase "the tax payers" is an appositive, so you would write it the way we write appositives, which is between two commas.

All of that said, there is precedent for writing, "She needed we the tax payers to pay." You may recall the Constitution, which quite famously states, "We the people." Since the people doesn't necessarily have to be an appositive, it follows that neither would the taxpayers.

Now, you may be thinking: But "we" in "we the people" is the subject, not the direct object? That's true. Nevertheless, there is precedent. The following article from Grammar Book gives a very thorough explanation of it: http://data.grammarbook.com/blog/pronouns/we-the-people-or/ .

In a nutshell, you could get away with writing, "She wanted we the taxpayers to pay." You may end up having to defend that grammar, but defendable it be.


The statement could (should) be written with commas. It would be "She needed us, the taxpayers, to pay. I think this was more about comma placement than about the choice of words. "We" doesn't flow at all.

Hope this helps.


Wrong. Nothing defensible about "She needs we the taxpayers to pay." NOTHING. The correct usage is "She needs us the taxpayers to pay." Simple. ("She needs us the taxpayers" requires the objective case.) Period.

  • 3
    Welcome to English Language and Usage. Using "NOTHING", "Simple", and "Period" doesn't explain anything. Please explain why "us" should be used and why "we" can't.
    – user140086
    Dec 30 '16 at 13:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.