Popular Science

Why we say "you" even when we mean "I"

People choose the "general you" when trying to distance themselves from things with a negative things.
lizard word you on wall


The generic you refers to someone who doesn't really exist.

Early in August 2015, then Presidential candidate Donald Trump went on the CBS news show Face the Nation and said something curious:

“I fight like hell to pay as little [in taxes] as possible … I’m a businessman. And that’s the way you’re supposed to do it.” 

Did you catch it?

If you missed it, here’s a hint: it’s not what he said that’s curious. It’s how he said it.


Here’s what Trump said, this time with the key word bolded:

“I fight

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Popular Science

Popular Science4 min read
Make A Knife Sharp Enough To Shave
By now just about everyone has heard of 127 Hours, the critically acclaimed movie inspired by Aron Ralston, the climber who was pinned by a boulder in Utah and spent an hour sawing his arm off with a dull knife blade. It's a dramatic film, but I don'
Popular Science4 min readTech
How To Use Your Phone With One Hand
Remember back in the era of the iPhone 4 and 5, when Apple’s phones seemed diminutive compared to their growing competitors? The company claims they did so to keep the phones usable with one hand. They eventually caved, though, and even today’s small
Popular Science3 min readWellness
Most People Don't Know The True Dangers Of HPV
Even cervical cancer awareness is low: two-thirds of men and one-third of women don’t know HPV can cause it.