It's not the royal "we," but the general "you." Scientists are now digging into the strange phenomenon where people use the word “you” instead of “I” when referring to their own feelings; for example, “you win some, you lose some.” They discovered people may turn to the pronoun to create distance between themselves, and a negative or painful experience.

To better understand why people frequently use this linguistic device, known as “generic-you,” researchers at the University of Michigan conducted nine experiments with 2,489 people, according to Medical Xpress. Their work is published in the journal Science.

Read: Noam Chomsky’s Theory Of Universal Grammar Is Right; It's Hardwired Into Our Brains

“When people use “you” to make meaning from negative experiences, it allows them to ‘normalize’ the experience and reflect on it from a distance,” said Ariana Orvell, the study’s lead author, Medical Xpress reported.

One example Orvell gives is when people say, “When you are angry, you say and do things that you will most likely regret.” The speaker is likely referring to his or herself; however, by using the generic you, the person communicates this is relatable to anyone.

In one of the experiments, the participants were assigned to one of three writing tasks. The tasks included writing about the meaning of a negative event they experienced, reliving a negative event, or conveying a neutral experience.

Generic-you was used most by those in the group assigned to write about the meaning of a negative event. Forty-six percent of the meaning-making group used the word at least once compared to only 10 percent in the relive group and 3 percent in the neutral group.

The researchers believe people use the generic you in order to make sense of a negative experience and give it a broader meaning.

“You” is one of the most commonly used words in the English language.

See also: Why Positive Messages Ease Anxiety During Public Speaking, According To Science

Can Texting Ruin A Child’s Grammar And Spelling? The Impact Of Learning To Write On A Cell Phone​