give me or give us?


Senior Member
Catalan, Spain

Is it true that in casual speech "give us" (or maybe give's or gie's) is often used in place of "give me", or am I dreaming?

  • bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    "Give us" to mean "give me" sounds like something I'd encounter in an uneducated Dickens character's dialog. I'm not sure, but it might still be idiomatic in informal BE.


    Senior Member
    New Zealand - English
    Give us to mean give me is very slangy. It sounds like something a macho guy would yell at a woman: "Give us a look, love!"
    But you are not dreaming, people do use it occasionally.

    I think it is more common in British English than American English.


    england english
    Well, it's a little bit slangy but it's not that uncommon in BE. "give us a call" definitely perfectly usual. Probably more from the north of England.

    The Scrivener

    England. English
    "Give us a bit" is often said to someone eating an ice cream, chocolate bar, banana, etc. It is inoffensive slang.

    The people of North-East England (around the Newcastle-on-Tyne area [known as Geordies]) always refer to 'me' as us. "Nobody wants to play with us (me)", "She told us (me) to go to school".


    United States of America (English)
    We must say, Scrivener, that the things you say provoke our laughter as we ponder how many Gollums there are in North-East England today.


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Us, meaning me, is a very common in my part of the world as a colloquial or dialect form. I'm delighted to see that this is supported by the OED. I wouldn't call it slang.


    Senior Member

    I've just found the following passage in M. Swan's book Practical Englsh Usage:

    In very informal British speech, us is quite often used instead of me (especially as an indirect object).

    Give us a kiss, love.

    Are you familiar with the usage described above?

    Thank you.


    Senior Member
    English UK
    Just to add my two penn'orth - yes, "us" for "me" is common in 'very informal British speech'. Especially, for some reason, in the phrase "give us a kiss".

    I probably use it quite frequently, now I think about it.


    Senior Member
    UK, English
    "Us" pronounced as [əz ~ əs] is common in Britain as an equivalent of "me" but only in an unstressed context. If it were a question of who you were giving a kiss to, the answer would be "me" [mɪi]. For this reason, it's unlikely to cause any confusion. It also, though, is why it can be common in even less informal situations. It can be quite difficult to change to using "me" in all situations without feeling that you're sounding over-emphatic.


    Senior Member
    English English
    I use it all the time in speech, Audi.

    (I also regularly use us as a substitute for our, as in "What [are] we having for us tea?" But I suppose that's a separate issue.)


    Senior Member
    English - American
    In American English, you wouldn't see "us" standing in for "me" in any of these cases. You might hear something like palindrome's example "Come on, give us a break!" but it would mean that someone speaking for a group is addressing someone. For example, you are with your friends at a bar; one friend is telling a lie to the group and another replies "give us a break!"

    I've also never seen give's, gie's or gissa.
    I wouldn't even say that it was "very" informal. In BrE it's just informal, but very common. In fact, I would almost say that those who never use it are people who are consistently formal in their speech regardless of the circumstances. There aren't many of those around these days.