Theories of collective intentions must distinguish genuinely collective intentions from coincidentally harmonized ones. Two apparently equally apt ways of doing so are the ‘neo-reductionism’ of Bacharach (2006) and Gold and Sugden (2007a) and the ‘non-reductionism’ of Searle (1990, 1995). Here, we present findings from theoretical linguistics that show that we is not a cognitive primitive, but is composed of notions of I and grouphood. The ramifications of this finding on the structure both of grammatical and lexical systems suggests that an understanding of collective intentionality does not require a primitive we-intention, but the notion of grouphood implicit in team reasoning, coupled with the individual concept I. This, we argue, supports neo-reductionism but poses difficulties for non-reductionism.