Re: ARE WE THE POPE? (was E-mail: How do

Subject: Re: ARE WE THE POPE? (was E-mail: How do
From: "Huber, Mike" <Mike -dot- Huber -at- SOFTWARE -dot- ROCKWELL -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 1995 09:36:05 -0400

The usage in "E-mail: How does it affect our lives?" is correct,
because the writer is addressing a group of which the writer is
a member, probably looking for a consensus. The doctor is
annoying because he is attempting to imply membership in the
group he is addressing. Your wife was implying the possibility
of a consensus that she knew did not exist.

The answers, of course, must be (and the ones I have seen are)
in the singular. Thus

Q: What do we think?
A1: Well, I think X.
A2: But I think Y.
I really don't understand the use of first-person plural in framing
questions about third parties. Please explain it to me. The current
strain to hit the list is titled, "E-mail: How does it affect our
lives?" Some time ago, there was another one floating around titled,
"Do we like our jobs?", and there have been several others.

Folks, this reminds me of when my wife would ask, "How would we feel
about my mother coming to visit for a month?" My invariable reply was,
"I don't know how WE would feel. I can only tell you how *I* feel."

And remember, the first question on the entrance exam for new sitcom
writers is: "A doctor walks into a room and asks, 'How are we feeling
today?' Write 5 snappy answers that have not been on the air in the
last week."

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