Help me to explain them / those to ds please.

(15 Posts)
IwishIwasmoreorganised Fri 28-Feb-14 22:36:44

Ds1 is 8 and attends Welsh School (only started English this year - year 3).

English grammar has never been my strong point.

Ds keeps saying them instead of those, but I don't seem to be able to come up with a clear explanation to help him to get it right.

Can anyone help me please?

chateauferret Sat 01-Mar-14 13:56:38

Up here in Ecosse of course 'they' is the demonstrative as well as the personal pronoun. 'Them' as the demonstrative is common in London. Both of course are formally incorrect.

The difference is that if you're going to use the pronoun to qualify another noun phrase then it's demonstrative

chateauferret Sat 01-Mar-14 13:59:52

Ahem. Excuse me. Demonstrative, so "those". If you're going to put a verb next it'll be "they" and "them" is just the accusative and dative of "they".

Of course you might use "those" directly with a verb, as in "these are nice but those are shite". Then the noun you qualify is implied by the context. The clue is whether is still makes sense if you insert "ones".

You could also look at the

Is it them for people and those for objects, to keep it simple? <warning: I am not a pedant nor an expert in English grammar>

No ignore me, that's not right, haha <idiot alert>

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sat 01-Mar-14 17:28:59

I'm still no clearer confused

prism Sat 01-Mar-14 21:08:44

Both "them" and "those" need an extra word to make them work, but in different ways.

"Them" always has another word before it, as in "to them", "for them" or "with them", etc.

"Those" always has a word after it, as in "Those people", "Those boats", "Those pedants", etc.

Use "them" when you are not going to use the extra word afterwards because everyone knows which people/boats/pedants you are talking about. Use "those" if you need to say who or what they are.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sun 02-Mar-14 08:31:43

Perfect! Thank you prism

ohmymimi Tue 04-Mar-14 18:12:01

Q. 'Shall I buy these or those?'
A. 'Those.'

So, is this example incorrect? If so, why?

fedupandfifty Wed 05-Mar-14 12:54:18

Ohmy I'm a bit confused by this too. According to the poster above, those is incorrect as it doesn't have a noun after it. But I'm not sure about "these": presumably the same rule applies. So, you have to say " shall I buy these/ those apples?".

OP does your dc say "them apples" instead of "those apples"?

prism Wed 05-Mar-14 15:32:17

I know my explanation wasn't bullet proof and there were exceptions. So how about this:

"Them " is like "him" and "those" is like "that", so just as you wouldn't say "I heard it from him pedant on the internet" (unless maybe you were Tarzan), you wouldn't say "I heard it from them pedants on the internet". And you would say "I heard it from that pedant" and "I heard it from those pedants".

Anonymai Wed 05-Mar-14 15:39:09

*Q. 'Shall I buy these or those?'
A. 'Those.'*

So, is this example incorrect? If so, why?

If you think about the sentence, there are objects that could be added in. It's just shortened down instead.

Shall I buy these (ones) or those (ones)?
Those (ones).

You could also say (if you were gesturing or it could be confusing!)

Shall I buy them or them?
Them.

You can't put (ones) in there to expand those sentences so that's why them is the right choice.

"Them" is a way of saying "those (whatever it is)" without actually using the noun.

Anonymai Wed 05-Mar-14 15:40:26

That made no sense!

What I meant is "them" can be used or "those (whatever the noun is)" can be used but not "them (whatever the noun is)".

IwishIwasmoreorganised Wed 05-Mar-14 19:23:31

Yes fedupandfifty that's a perfect example of what he would say.

ohmymimi Fri 07-Mar-14 09:58:20

Thank you all. Very helpful examples and explanations.

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