Authorial 'we'

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The authorial 'we' is a way of avoiding using 'I' in academic writing. Similar phenomena are also called the editorial 'we' and the royal 'we'. See also first person for an account of a related problem in academic writing.

The use of the authorial 'we' was widespread in the nineteenth century, and was a standard convention in academic writing and journalism. Its use declined through the twentieth century, and now, in the twenty-first,it is widely regarded as quaint and old-fashioned. AWE advises against it. Even in the nineteenth century, the writer Mark Twain said "Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial 'we.'"
Mark Twain