When you are talking to a 3rd person, fundamentally

(1) それは、私達の出来あげたものです。
(2) それは、われわれの出来あげたものです。


That is something that we all created together.

With regard to using them as first person, plural, possessive pronouns, this a nuanced choice. I'm not asking about using them as subjects, objects, topical nouns, etc. Just as possessive pronouns.

  • My feeling is that #1 is about taking more direct credit for what was accomplished? It sounds rude? Like you considered yourself the lead in a small group of 4 or 5 people?

  • Even if you were the lead, always express to outsiders that a team of equals, among them yourself, accomplished something? That is choice #2?

  • I don't think できあげる is correct. Maybe 作り上げる is what you were thinking of?
    – sazarando
    Jul 15, 2016 at 3:14
  • 「私たち作り上げたもの」should be「私たち作り上げたもの」instead.
    – sazarando
    Jul 15, 2016 at 3:15
  • 1
    @sazarando I don't think so. When you talk about intangibles 立ちあげる should surely be used. For example, when a small team of developers create an app its "私達の出来あげる" but when you talk about the development of Windows10, that would be "われわれの立ち上げる". Or so I think... My feel is just about that "われわれ" abstracts away the directness of "私". Jul 15, 2016 at 3:26
  • 1
    「私たち/我々作り上げたもの」「私たち/我々作り上げたもの」both sound fine to me. (の is acceptable because it's the subject in a relative clause.)
    – chocolate
    Jul 15, 2016 at 3:26
  • 1
    んん・・? I don't think it's odd... でも、「できあげる」は、変ですね。 自動詞「できあがる」はありますが、他動詞「できあげる」はないですね。
    – chocolate
    Jul 15, 2016 at 3:29

4 Answers 4

  • There is not such verb as 出来上げる, although 出来上がる (intransitive) and 作り上げる (transitive) exist.
  • No one can possess a verb. That の after 我々/私たち is a subject marker, which can replace が only in relative clauses. See: How does the の work in 「日本人の知らない日本語」?
  • 我々 and 私たち are always first person and plural pronouns, of course. And I don't know why you think they behave differently only when used as the possessive pronouns.
  • Simply, 我々 is more formal and stiffer than 私たち. The number of people in the group doesn't matter. The level of confidence doesn't matter. Whether you were a lead or not doesn't matter, either. You can use 我々 when you do a presentation in a business setting, make a serious speech, take a job interview, etc. But recently more and more people tend to use 私たち in such a situation, too, because 私たち sounds milder. Politicians 100 years ago might have been using 我々 all the time, but we often hear politicians say 私たち today. Using 私たち won't be rude in almost any situation. Using 我々 in an inappropriate situation (eg. among close friends and referring to "we") is not rude, either, but it may sound a bit unfriendly, depending on the context.
  • I was just reading a speech. The speaker used われわれ almost everywhere, but at an interesting section he changed to 私達. I thought about whether there might be a nuanced reason for this change. Maybe he was proud and wanted more credit... just my guessing. not an important issue at all. Jul 15, 2016 at 15:26
  • yeah. The speaker actually said "立ち上げる" (not "出来あげる)). Jul 15, 2016 at 15:31

There are no such differences in terms of nuances that you point out. Both are not rude and can be used for 4,5 people. 私たち and われわれ are always interchangeable without making the sentence rude or improper.

Instead, it changes an impression a bit. われわれ sounds slightly more academic or political while 私たち sounds slightly softer. Or I can say われわれ, in any grammatical situations, is more used by male speakers. But it's not strange at all if women use われわれ.


I don't believe that there is any special difference in meaning imparted by adding の to われわれ or わたしたち・わたくしたち.

Adding の only turns these words into a possessive pronouns.

The choice between these expressions will always involve how you feel about who you are addressing and people you include as "we", regardless of whether what follows describes something you have done together or not.


Essentially, both mean "We". In my experience 我々 has the nuance of a "we" within a defined group: we (our class, our company, our country), where 私達 has no nuance. A very common use case is 我々日本人

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