What Does the Word Them Refer to

What Does the Word Them Refer to

An explanation of the use of
them and
they in different contexts.

I am currently teaching ESL to a group of Brazilian students and need to explain/limited to them the departure between the use of the words ‘them’ and/or ‘they’ in whatever context apply. Please share your opinions. Thank you

Anonymous

Hi there,

The use of pronouns, peculiarly
they, can exist problematic for learners whose native language has different forms for
they
(a masculine grade, a feminine form, a neutral form) or for languages who exercise not ever require a subject field pronoun for a verb. In the instance of your Brazilian learners, whose first language volition be Portuguese, there is a bit of both things going on. What follows is a full grammatical explanation of
they
and
them
(and all their contexts of utilize) followed by some teaching tips.

They
and
them
are both pronouns, that is words which are used in identify of nouns or noun groups.
They
and
them
are ever used in place of plural nouns or substantive groups in the 3rd person. Notwithstanding the fundamental difference betwixt the 2 in grammatical terms, is that they is a subject pronoun, and them is an object pronoun.

i)
They

They
is used to refer to the subject field of a clause. In other words, information technology usually represents the ‘doers’ of the action described past the verb, and usually refers back to two or more people or things that were mentioned earlier:

The children were kind. They gave me a present.


Jan and Tom aren’t coming. They said they couldn’t make it.

Notation that grammatical subjects aren’t e’er ‘doers’ of an action, simply as a rule of thumb, the subject area occurs at the beginning of a sentence, so this is the typical position of they:

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Those cakes are delicious. They were made by my grandma.

They
is sometimes used at the beginning of sentences to refer to people in full general or to refer to a group of people who are unknown or whose identity does not need to be stated:

They say that information technology will take several months to recover.

They’ve given Pablo some other pay rise.

They
is likewise sometimes used instead of the pronouns
he
or
she
to refer to non-binary people or an private person whose gender is non known or mentioned (see Teaching Tips for farther data). This pronoun takes a plural verb, despite their singular referent:

I of the teachers was supposed to be coming, merely they were ill.

2)
Them

Them
is used to refer to the object of a clause. In other words, it usually represents the group of people or things that have ‘experienced’ the action described by the verb, and refers back to ii or more people or things that were mentioned earlier:

I’ve bought some apples. I’ll put them on the tabular array.

Them
tin can be used equally both a direct object pronoun equally shown in the instance above or an indirect object pronoun. An indirect object refers to a third participant in the activity described by the verb, oftentimes someone who receives something every bit a result of information technology. eg:

The kids were actually excited. Jack gave them presents
.

In the 2d judgement above,

them

is the indirect object and presents is the direct object. Similar other indirect objects,

them

can exist introduced by a preposition and placed after a direct object, eastward.g.:

Jack gave presents to them
.

Them

is also sometimes used instead of the object pronouns him or her to refer to an individual person whose sex is non known or mentioned:

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If someone phones, tell them I’g not hither.

iii)
Teaching tips

They
/
them

= atypical?

This is the most complicated apply of
they
and
them
, as in
If someone phones, tell them I’1000 not here, and 1 which was considered wrong not so long agone. This is an example of language change. Michael Swan wrote in English Teaching Professional that ‘oral media take done much to rehabilitate the grammer of spoken language, and this is influencing written norms’. The use of
them/them
/
their

for a singular reference, he goes on to say, ‘has existed in informal speech for centuries (and) is becoming increasingly acceptable in more formal styles’. The use of
they / them
for a atypical reference is also an example of a societal modify.
They
and
them
are seen as gender neutral and are used by some not-binary or gender queer people. You lot should decide if your Unproblematic students will find this information helpful or not, simply it’s definitely worth pointing out this apply of
they
to Intermediate or college students.

4)
Working on pronouns

One way of making students detect how unlike pronouns work in English would be to apply a text in which several pronouns occur. Ask the students to underline the pronouns and discuss who or what each ane refers to. Aside from raising awareness of pronoun use, it’s worth noting that this kind of practise occurs in exams similar the TOEFL (in the reading section), and therefore would exist useful for students who are thinking about taking that test or a similar i.

A adept follow upwards to an do like that would be to requite the students the same text just with some of the fundamental pronouns (including a off-white mix of
he / she
and
they) removed. The students then try to put them dorsum in.

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You could likewise brand your ain worksheet to practise this. Choose 2 well-known people for your students, a man and a woman. Make sure they have something in common. Write some sentences that can only refer to the man, some that can just refer to the adult female and some that can refer to both. Here are examples for ii internationally famous Brazilians, the football thespian Ronaldinho and Gisele Bundchen.

He was built-in in Porto Alegre.

He plays with Barcelona Football Social club.

She has been a model since she was a teenager.

Tom Brady married her in 2009.

They are Brazilian.

They are very rich
.

Enquire the students to brand iii headings on the page (one for the man, one for the adult female and one for both). Dictate the sentences in a higher place, but without saying
he / she / him / she / her / they
(say
Mmmm
in its place). The students must write downwardly the judgement with the correct pronoun in the correct column. So for example, you dictate:

Mmm has been a model since she was a teenager
.

Students write the judgementShe has been a model since she was a teenager in the Gisele Bundchen column. Inquire students to check their answers together afterwards then get through them all as a group.

You could extend this activity by creating sentences which use the possessive adjectives
his
/
her
and
their. These are notoriously problematic for Spanish and Portuguese learners!

What Does the Word Them Refer to

Source: https://www.onestopenglish.com/ask-the-experts/grammar-them-and-they/146352.article