Tuesday, March 03, 2009

It's about We the People

Here's a wrap-up note from C-PAC posted at Wonkette, along with the picture they ran …

So, the question is, which sounds better to you with the fixed phrase here?
It's about we the people …
It's about us the people …
Please discuss.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

'Us' is really bad there. Even Safire has to accept 'we' in the fixed phrase, right?

√v said...

The phrases are different for me...

It's [about [we the people]]

vs.

It's [about [us [the people]]]

are both fine but only with the different readings of the object of 'about'...

YMMV

Ryan said...

Both sound acceptable, but you definitely change the object if you use 'us'.

Jonathon said...

If those are the only two options, I think I'd pick "we". In this case the grammatical offense seems smaller than the stylistic one.

Ollock said...

I say "we", taking "we the people" as a fixed idiomatic phrase -- maybe kind of a direct quote.

The Ridger, FCD said...

I'd go with "we", especially with the capitals in "We The People" after lower-case "about".

But maybe I'd have used quote marks.

That Guy said...

If you remove all the stuff in between "We" and the main verb (ordain), it reads thus: "We... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." SO, I guess I don't see anything wrong with that construction. Altogether it's obviously really wordy and cumbersome, but that's a different matter, more a stylistic matter, I guess. But in the construction "It's about We the People" it's obviously wrong technically speaking, but I have to agree with Ollock, who treats it "as a fixed idiomatic phrase." If you use the technically correct us (because it's in object position), you lose the connection to the Preamable that is the whole point of the name in the first place. I have many valid, non-grammatical reasons to hate Joe the Plumber, so I can let this one slide.

Dianna said...

I agree, I read it as

It's about "We the people"

DukeXC said...

Agree with the idiom point, particularly seeing as We The People is capitalized.

And for "It's about us the people" to be correct, you'd need to add a comma - "It's about us, the people." Which doesn't carry half of the dramatic weight.