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Them vs. Their: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on September 27, 2023
“Them” is an object pronoun, used to represent the object of a verb or preposition; “their” is a possessive adjective, describing ownership.

Key Differences

“Them” and “Their,” while both pronouns, serve distinct purposes within the structure of a sentence. “Them” is an object pronoun, which means it represents the object of a verb or preposition. It is typically used to refer to specific people or things previously mentioned, understood, or implied in the context. On the other hand, “their” is a possessive adjective used to show ownership or possession. It describes something as belonging to or associated with the people or things previously mentioned or easily identified.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
In the usage of “them,” it replaces the names or nouns previously mentioned to avoid redundancy, offering a coherent and concise structure to the sentence. For instance, in “I gave the kids some candy. I wanted to please them,” “them” refers to “the kids.” Conversely, “their” is employed to attribute possession or relation to a previously identified noun or pronoun. It emphasizes the sense of belonging, such as in “The kids forgot their backpacks,” where “their” signifies the backpacks belonging to the kids.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
The pronoun “them” functions as the object of verbs and prepositions, working to indicate the entity that is acted upon or involved in the action, while not conducting the action themselves. “Their,” however, functions as a modifier, providing additional information about the noun it precedes by attributing ownership or possession, and it’s crucial in elucidating the relationship between the subject and the object in possessive constructs.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
The understanding of “them” and “their” is crucial for grammatical accuracy and clarity in communication. While “them” is pivotal in clarifying the object being referred to without redundancy, “their” is vital in expressing possession, ensuring that the ownership of an item or a characteristic is correctly attributed to the previously mentioned subjects, thereby avoiding ambiguity.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023
In English grammar, correct usage of “them” and “their” determines the coherence and clarity of expression. Using “them” accurately ensures succinctness and avoiding unnecessary repetition of nouns, and employing “their” correctly assures the right attribution of ownership or association, creating sentences that are both grammatically correct and clear in conveying meaning.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Part of Speech

Object Pronoun
Possessive Adjective
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Function

Represents the object of a verb or preposition
Shows ownership or possession
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Usage

Replaces the names or nouns previously mentioned
Attributes possession or relation to a previously identified noun or pronoun
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Position in Sentence

Used as the object of verbs and prepositions
Precedes a noun it modifies
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

Example

I saw them at the mall.
Their car is very fast.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023
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Them and Their Definitions

Them

A word that replaces specific nouns to avoid redundancy.
The students were noisy, but the teacher calmed them down.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

Their

Used to attribute possession or characteristics to a previously mentioned noun.
The trees are losing their leaves.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023

Them

An object pronoun used to represent a previously mentioned group of people or things.
We invited the neighbors to dinner and enjoyed meeting them.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023

Their

Modifies the noun that follows it to elucidate possession.
Their opinion was highly valued.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Them

Utilized to represent the object that a verb or preposition affects.
She baked cookies and distributed them to her friends.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

Their

A possessive adjective used to show ownership or association with a noun.
The kids forgot their homework.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Them

Used as the object of a verb to refer to people, animals, or things mentioned earlier.
We gave them a hearty welcome.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023

Their

Denotes something belongs or relates to the people or things mentioned.
Their response was quite surprising.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

Them

Employed when the action is on the mentioned nouns or pronouns, not by them.
I borrowed books and read them.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

Their

Establishes the relationship of possession between a noun and its owner.
The team showcased their skills.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Them

Those
"Them dogs will find the end of them footprints before ten o'clock" (William Faulkner).
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 24, 2023

Their

Used as a modifier before a noun
The politicians boasted of their accomplishments. “It is fatal for anyone who writes to think of their sex” (Virginia Woolf). See Usage Notes at he1, they.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 24, 2023

Them

(in the plural) Those ones.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 24, 2023

Their

Belonging to, from, of, or relating to, them (plural).
They will meet tomorrow at their convenience
This is probably their cat
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 24, 2023

Them

Used as the direct object of a verb.
She treated them for a cold.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 24, 2023

Their

Belonging to someone (one person, singular).
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 24, 2023

Them

Used as the indirect object of a verb.
She wrote them a letter.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 24, 2023

Their

Misspelling of there
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 24, 2023

Them

Used as the object of a preposition.
Give it to them.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 24, 2023

Their

The possessive case of the personal pronoun they; as, their houses; their country.
Nothing but the name of zeal appears'Twixt our best actions and the worst of theirs.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 24, 2023

Them

(in the singular) A single person, previously mentioned, especially if of unknown or non-binary gender.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 24, 2023

Them

Used as the direct object of a verb.
If a student has an inappropriate question, whatever you do, do not berate them.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 24, 2023

Them

Used as the indirect object of a verb.
If one of my patients calls, please bring them their dinner.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 24, 2023

Them

Used as the object of a preposition.
If someone comes and asks for the ticket, just give it to them.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 24, 2023

Them

(dialectal) Those.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 24, 2023

Them

The objective case of they. See They.
Go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father.
Little stars may hide them when they list.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 24, 2023

FAQs

Does “their” show ownership?

Yes, “their” is a possessive adjective that shows ownership.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Is “them” an object pronoun?

Yes, “them” is an object pronoun.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Does “them” refer to the object of a verb or preposition?

Yes, “them” represents the object of a verb or preposition.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Can “them” replace nouns previously mentioned?

Yes, “them” is used to replace nouns previously mentioned to avoid redundancy.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Is “their” specific to a number or gender?

No, “their” is gender-neutral and can refer to one or more owners.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023

Is “them” used for singular or plural nouns?

Them” is typically used for plural nouns but can be used singularly in informal or nonbinary contexts.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Is “their” used before a noun it modifies?

Yes, “their” precedes and modifies a noun to show possession or association.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023

Can “their” be used to show something belongs to people mentioned?

Absolutely, “their” denotes that something belongs or relates to the people or things mentioned.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Is “their” an adjective?

Yes, “their” is a possessive adjective.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Can “them” be used to refer to animals as well?

Yes, “them” can be used to refer to both people and animals.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

Can “them” be used as a subject pronoun?

No, “them” is an object pronoun and should not be used as a subject pronoun.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Can “them” refer to things as well as people?

Yes, “them” can refer to people, animals, and things.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

Does “their” always precede a noun?

Generally, “their” precedes the noun it modifies, but it might not immediately precede it.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Can “them” be used to refer to a single nonbinary individual?

Yes, “them” can be used as a singular pronoun for nonbinary or gender-nonconforming individuals.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

Is “their” only used for plural nouns?

Typically, but “their” can also be used singularly to refer to one person whose gender is unknown or unspecified.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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