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We had an exercise on Subject and Object pronouns in school. I have a question on the same. Can we use them and they interchangeably? Like in the following instance:

It's them over there.

They did it.

Is this usage appropriate?

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  • What do you mean by "use them and they interchangeably"? Your example is two different sentences, not the same sentence with different pronouns. Do you want an answer to talk about whether "It's they over there" or "Them did it" are possible, or equivalent to the sentences that you wrote here? – sumelic Sep 1 '18 at 5:37
  • They is subject pronoun and them is a object pronoun, but in the sentence , It's them over there! they did it. Them is used as a subject pronoun and they as an object pronoun, is it appropriate? – Harini Ramachandran Sep 1 '18 at 5:44
  • "It's they over there" or "Them did it", answers to whether these usages are correct or incorrect would also be helpful. Thanks. – Harini Ramachandran Sep 1 '18 at 6:09
  • I don't see how "they" is used as an object pronoun in "They did it." The matter of pronoun case after forms of the verb be is a special issue that has been discussed in previous questions on this site; e.g. Which one is correct to say: “It's me” or “It's I”?. Note that the second part of a sentence that uses be is not the subject; it is the "subject complement". The subject of "It's them" is clearly "it", as shown by the fact that the verb in this sentence is third-person singular, not plural (we don't say "It are them/they"). – sumelic Sep 1 '18 at 6:28
  • Will 'it' remain the subject, if we modify the sentence? It's they/them who are over there. – Alex_ander Sep 1 '18 at 8:11
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NO! You are not allowed to use the terms interchangeably. The way I think about it is as follows.

Subject Pronouns "They" = are the "doers" of an action. In a sentence, "they" would be the noun that performs the verb.

EXAMPLE 1: Bill and Ted were really hungry. They ate all the cakes in the pantry.

Object Pronouns "Them" = are the "receivers" of an action. In a sentence, "them" would be the noun's experiences or receives the verb

EXAMPLE 2: I brought some cakes to the party. I'll put them in the pantry.

Notice that in the example 1 Bill and Ted are performing an action (eating). In example 2 the cakes are being acted upon (placed in a pantry).

In your sample sentence of:

It's them over there. They did it.

You are using the terms correctly and nothing is wrong. "them" is being acted upon (It's = It is, in which case the "it" is the noun performing the action of is), while "they" is used as the performer of an action (in this case "did").

The incorrect version of example would read like this...

It's they over there. Them did it.

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