They vs. 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" in the English Grammar

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 general facts.

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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