Reader Linton Sellen writes to comment on “And now we begin,” where I elaborated on Mitt Romney’s dressing down of Bret Baier in the Fox News interview last week via Romney’s use of the first person plural (which I referred to as the royal we):
I believe that the royal “we” is actually used when the speaker is referring to himself or herself. It is a nosism. It is using the first person plural when referring to the first person singular, saying “we” when he or she really means “I,” as when the Queen says, “We are not amused.” She is not amused, but because of her position and status, she speaks for everyone.
The Romney example would be better characterized as a patronizing “we.” He is using it when he means “you.” Perhaps you mistook it for the royal “we” because of the arrogance and condescension inherent in his use of it!
What can I say? It’s a good point. We stand corrected.