They vs. Them in English Grammar

The Difference between 'They' and 'Them'

'They' and 'them' are both third-person plural pronouns and refer to plural nouns. But what is their main difference? Let's find out!

They vs. Them

Main Similarity and Difference

'They' and 'them' are both third-person plural pronouns and refer to plural nouns. However, there is a significant difference between the two:
One is a subject pronoun and the other is an object pronoun.

They: Subject Pronoun

'They' is a third person pronoun. It is used as the subject of a verb. 'They' refers to a group of people, animals, or things.

They are my parents , Sheldon and Maya .

They hunt at night .

The Singular They

'They' is used instead of he or she to refer to a person with unidentified or unknown gender. This is called the 'singular they'.

Every person must know they are appreciated .

Generic They

We can use 'they' to refer to people in general or when we want to state a general fact.

As they say , let bygones be bygones .

Them: Object Pronoun

'Them' is a third-person pronoun. It is used as the object of a verb or preposition or as a predicative after the verb be.

Tell them the truth . (object)

Can you catch all of them ? (object of preposition)

It's them . Shall I invite them in ? (predicative)

The Singular Them

You use 'them' instead of 'him or her' to refer to a person without explicitly stating whether that person is a male or a female.

It is important to talk to children about death and tell them the truth .

You use 'them' to refer to a non-binary person who wants to be referred to as 'they' and 'them'.

Do you know Tina ? I need to call them .

'Them' instead of 'Those'

Sometimes in colloquial and spoken language (in non-standard English) people use 'them' instead of 'those'. It is grammatically incorrect, so don't use it in formal or written English.

I need to buy one of them hamburgers .

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