It vs. Them

'It' and 'They' are both pronouns, but what is the difference between 'it' and 'they'? Here we will discuss the differences and similarities between the two.

"It" vs. "Them" in the English Grammar

What are their main differences?

'Them' is the object pronoun and 'it' can be both object and subject pronoun.

Main Similarity

'It' and 'them' are both personal pronouns in English.

How to Choose between 'It' and 'Them'?

If you want to decide which one to use, always stick to one simple rule:

'It' refers to a singular noun, and 'them' refers to a plural noun.

Referring to Plural or Singular Nouns

'It' and 'them' can both refer to living and non-living entities. But do not worry about this.
The choice between 'it' versus 'them' has nothing to do with living or non-living nouns. It is only a matter of plurality or singularity of nouns.

Come to think of it, the first restaurant was great. I loved them.

Come to think of it, the first restaurant was great. I loved it.

Plural-Only Nouns

For plural-only nouns (nouns that always appear in plural forms, but are actually one thing), for instance, pants, glasses, trousers, etc. do not use 'it'. You should use 'them'.

What a nice pair of shoes. I love them!

What a nice pair of shoes. I love it!

Tip!

Using 'it' for these nouns is considered grammatically incorrect, however, you might hear a sentence like:

I bought a pair of shoes. It's gorgeous.

Uncountable and Collective Nouns

For uncountable and collective nouns, use 'it'. They might have a plural meaning and sense to them, but they are considered singular nouns.

I gave him the money, and he took it without question.

Tip!

So, keep this rule in mind, for all collective nouns, you must use 'it', not 'they'. Unless in a specific context that you want to refer to the people working at a company, army, etc.

Apple has produced yet another version. I can't understand them/it.

When using 'it', we refer to the company as a single unit. But, when using 'them' we are referring to the members of the staff.

Singular 'Them'

In modern English, we do not normally refer to a person with unspecified or unknown gender as 'his/her' or 'his or her'. Today, it is better to use 'them'.

Don't forget to consult your doctor. Call them now!

If anyone calls, tell them I'll be back later.

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