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I sometimes hear 我々{われわれ} and 私{わたし}たち for "we", but am at a loss for understanding when I should use one over the other. Any tips?

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  • There are 僕たち, 俺たち, 俺ら, うちら, 我ら, and [私]{わたくし}ども as well.
    – nodakai
    Mar 15 '16 at 17:58
  • @nodakai Not to mention 僕ら and あたし達.
    – Angelos
    Mar 17 '16 at 0:43
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They are synonymous in meaning.

"我々" is more suitable in settings like political speeches (when referring to a group, including the speaker). It can have a strict and also archaic ring to it.

"私達" can also be read as "わたくしたち", which is highly formal. It might be suitable in a setting like a wedding reception, where you are referring to your spouse and yourself.

from goo辞書

[使い分け]

【1】「私達」は、話し言葉でも書き言葉でも用いる。

【2】「私達」は、「わたしたち」ともいうが、「わたくしたち」の方が、より改まった言い方。

【3】「我々」は、文語的で硬い言い方。


Otherwise, I can say I have heard people at my company use it, when referring to the company as a group, as opposed to an outside group (like a client). In this setting, the people saying it are also usually all men. It might be the preference of some men to avoid the word "私{わたし}" as it can be considered feminine.

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5

我々 is literary and hard word. We don't use it commonly but is sometimes used in oration.

私たち is commonly used.

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