In the sentence,

"We three will go to the Express mall. You can find we/us three there, having a good time."

I'm unsure whether to use we/us for the second reference.

I have read about we and us usage with respect to the subjective and objective pronouns and also about usage with finite verb and infinite verbs.

  • 1
    The personal determinative "we" is correct.
    – BillJ
    Nov 19, 2020 at 9:59
  • 1
    Can you tell which is correct: "You can find I there", "You can find me there". The difference we/us and he/him and she/her is the same.
    – GEdgar
    Nov 19, 2020 at 12:37
  • 2
    @BillJ I know which one I prefer between: "You can find we there." and "You can find us there."
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 19, 2020 at 13:30
  • @GEdgarg you're forgetting that "we" is a personal determinative here, not a pronoun. "We teachers are going on strike" is infinitively preferable to "Us teachers are going on strike".
    – BillJ
    Nov 19, 2020 at 13:48
  • Of course, as Christmas approaches this is even more strongly influenced by "We three kings of orient are".
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 19, 2020 at 18:01

3 Answers 3


"Us three" is correct.

In "we three" the meaning is "we, who are three in number". "Three" is used post-positionally and adjectivally (or in apposition) and does not influence the case change of "we" to "us", i.e. it does not prevent the change from the subjective "we" (nominative) to the objective "us".

1916 R. L. McCardell Diamond from Sky xxix. 423 You may be an adopted gipsy, and Arthur may be a born one, but of us three I am the real Romany.

  • 4
    @BillJ and you can provide reasoning, authority and examples?
    – Greybeard
    Nov 19, 2020 at 10:32
  • 1
    @BillJ - Okay, so write an answer with supporting evidence. Nov 19, 2020 at 11:03
  • 2
    @Aksp No. "three" has no real effect on "we": we behaves as it would if "three" were not there.
    – Greybeard
    Nov 19, 2020 at 12:38
  • 2
    I haven't found a great number of relevant examples in a Google ngram search, but the determiner usage of 'us' in 'us three' certainly prevails after prepositions ('besides us three', 'with us three', 'for us three' ...) [searches 'we/us three there'] and in DO position ('took us three there', 'That our late Prince treated us three with courtesy was because the True Way was still preserved.') [took we/us three]. It certainly sounds better than 'we' in non-subject position to my ageing ears. Though not always totally natural. In subject position ('Us three went first') it is non-standard. Nov 19, 2020 at 12:58
  • 1
    @BillJ At this point your answer would be helpful.
    – Greybeard
    Nov 19, 2020 at 16:34

we three will go to the Express mall.

You can find we/us three there, having a good time"

None of this is what a 21st century native speaker is likely to say in ordinary conversation. I have given the most likely version in bold below.

In conversation, many people do not stick to any strict rules of grammar (or indeed know any rules).

If you want a rule here's a simple one.

Remove "three" from the sentences.

We will go to the Express mall. ("We" is the subject of the verb "go")+

You can find us there, having a good time. ("us" is the direct object of the verb)"find")

Now replace the word "three" in those sentences and you have your answer.

Having said that, this is all very artificial. I can't imagine native speakers talking like that.

We might say


The three of us will go to the Express mall. ("us" is correct because it follows "of")

You can find us there, having a good time. (No need to repeat "three" because it has just been said)

If you really want to repeat "three", then we would say

The three of us will go to the Express mall. (This makes "three" the subject of the sentence)

You can find the three of us there, having a good time.

Finally, in a lower register (said by people who have never learned grammar or prefer to ignore it) you will hear

"Us three will go to the Express mall" (This goes against any formal rules but is certainly a common way of speaking informally)

  • Your procedure results in the wrong answer in the second example, where nominative "we" is correct. "You can find we three there".
    – BillJ
    Nov 19, 2020 at 10:34
  • 1
    @ BillJ - I'm sorry but you are simply wrong. I think you are committing the error of hypercorrection. Not only does that sound dreadful. It abides by no known rules of grammar. Nov 19, 2020 at 10:38
  • @chasly, thank you for the detailed explanation. Yes, the statement looks very artificial. But I see this in grade 3 grammar book for the personal pronoun exercise. They have just introduced the personal and possessive pronouns but thia particular sentence in the exercise was little complex for grade 3 kid. So just wanted to be sure which one is correct.
    – Aksp
    Nov 19, 2020 at 10:46
  • 1
    @ BillJ - Let's stick to grammar. I'd be interested to see your answer with supporting evidence from authoritative sources. Nov 19, 2020 at 11:16
  • 1
    "the three of us" is not only the most natural way of saying this in informal modern English (the context in which the question is asked), it also avoids a bind where the OP might write something that would be contentious no matter which option they chose (neither "we three" nor "us three" appears to be approved by all commenters, while nobody has said "the three of us" is ungrammatical).
    – Stuart F
    Nov 19, 2020 at 16:08

I don't usually give two answers to the same question but I think it is justified in this case.

There are a few questions that come up on language forums repeatedly and that are the source of battles between participants. I recall one on Wordreference that had over a hundred pages of argument and was never resolved to anyone's satisfaction.

In the end almost all these disagreements come down to whether one is an adherent of prescriptive or descriptive grammar

Prescriptive grammar tells us how we should write or speak whereas descriptive grammar tells us how people actually speak in real life.


When asking on a forum such as Stack Exchange, you will sometimes run into one of these points of contention - this is one of them.

As a result, you have to choose between what the textbook says and what actual people say. English grammar varies in different parts of the world, so it's best to choose a particular region and stick to it.

If you want to speak like a native then you do best to choose descriptive grammar. If you want to pass a test with the highest marks then you probably need to follow prescriptive rules.

So, which are the rules to follow? The only answer in my opinion, is to discover which textbook is recommended by the people who set the test and follow that.

If you are still in doubt then come back here and quote the textbook. That way we can help you understand it.

Good luck!

  • When people make prescriptive claims, they should always cite and link to the reference, in accordance with ELU regulations (I believe that's not too strong a term) or add a modal caveat (IMO, say). And not even Quirk et al is unassailable. But these are comments, not answers. Nov 19, 2020 at 13:03
  • @Edwin Ashworth - I agree, however I make no prescriptive claims - I am a firm descriptivist! The original question asks which is correct. My answer is neither because most people don't speak like that. However in a comment, the OP expresses a desire to do well in a test. In that case the "correct" answer is one that the testers believe to be correct. The best way to discover this is to find out which set of prescriptive rules they follow (if possible). Nov 19, 2020 at 13:07

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