Excuse us? Me and…me?


Lingfish

I overheard an interesting conversation at the train station the other day. The two speakers were a twenty-something-looking man and a seventy-something-looking woman at opposite ends of the station carpark, and the man was calling out to the woman trying to get her attention. “Scuse us!” he shouted, “scuse us!!” despite the fact that he was quite clearly alone. I did a double take and tried to find the other person making up the “us”, but it was just him. He certainly wasn’t talking about me.

I’ve noticed this a few times now, and I sometimes catch myself doing it as well; using a plural pronoun instead of a singular one when trying to get a stranger’s attention. This man could’ve shouted “excuse me” at the woman and sounded more natural, and he probably would’ve if he hadn’t been trying to be polite. It’s an interesting way of deflecting attention away…

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