Them VS Those


Hi. I work with customers, and they'll often point to objects on or behind the counter and say, "Can I have two of them?"

I think they really should be saying, "Can I have two of those/these?"

I guess I'm thinking of the sentence being, "Can I have two of those items?", in which case saying, "Can I have two of them items?" is completely wrong.

Is there a difference if the word "items" isn't present? Is saying "them" still incorrect?


asked Nov 14 '12 at 04:51 Dave New member

3 answers


Came across this on a search for something else. Must say that Patty T's reply is 99% correct, but contradictory. The basic rule is that 'They' and 'Them" refer to persons; 'These' and 'Those' refer to objects. She points this out when she points out that "Them is the objective of they. They is the plural form of he, she... (persons). The conundrum is that 'it' may or might refer to a person or thing. Again, she is corect in stating that "Those is the plural of that" (something which you would not call a person). Unfortunately, 'these' terms have become so confused and misused that often, when used correctly, they sound discordant, and become correct by acceptance or poetic preference.

link answered Oct 16 '15 at 07:40 PSt Thomass New member


I'm sorry but I don't know where you've got these 'rules' from.
The following is from '' but is a standard explanation.

They, them
We use they and them to refer to specific groups of people, things and animals:

The kids are getting on my nerves. They’re making so much noise. Can you tell them to be quiet? I’m trying to work.

Have you seen my keys? I never remember where I’ve left them.

They’re by the front door.

We also use they and them to refer to institutions or authorities, and groups of people in general:

I heard they’re going to publish a new edition of ‘War and Peace’.

They’re opening the new motorway tomorrow.

And this is from

pronouns: this, that, these and those
Why do we use this and these?
We use this (singular) and these (plural) as pronouns:

- to talk about people or things near us:

This is a nice cup of tea.
Whose shoes are these?

- to introduce people:

This is Janet.
These are my friends, John and Michael.

We don’t say These are John and Michael.
We say This is John and this is Michael.

- to introduce ourselves to begin a conversation on the phone:

Hello, this is David, Can I speak to Sally?

Why do we use that and those?
We use that (singular) and those (plural):

- to talk about things that are not near us:

What’s that?
This is our house, and that’s Rebecca’s house over there.
Those are very expensive shoes.

- We also use that to refer back to something someone said or did:

- Shall we go to the cinema?
- Yes, that’s a good idea.
- I’ve got a new job.
- That’s great.
- I’m very tired.
- Why is that?
this, these, that, those with nouns
We also use this, these, that and those with nouns to show proximity

We use this and these for people or things near us:

We have lived in this house for twenty years.
Have you read all of these books?

… and that and those for people or things that are not near us:

Who lives in that house?Who are those people?

DJRFeb 04 '16 at 16:27

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Q: So accroding to those things, is it correct to ask for example: "What are you going to say to them people?" or like in the Bruno Mars's song "Uptown Funk" say "them good girls"?

link answered Jan 04 '16 at 07:17 Almog Ozalvo New member

You would say something like "what are you going to say to these people" or "what are you going to say to them?" I wouldn't recommend getting the hang of grammar from song lyrics because they have their own non-rules :-)

Sandra BMar 06 at 23:22

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I'm finding that when a certain verbs are used after 'those,' it make sense to use it for people. Is that right? For example: Higher ground is safe, but those living in lower areas may need to evacuate.

link comment edited Jan 12 '16 at 03:09 Jo Bernard New member

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