I came across this sentence in Oxford dictionary on my phone. Here is the entry from Oxforddictionaries.com:

North American
informal, dialect
‘you wouldn't understand all them long words anyways’

I feel all them long words isn't correct. Instead, all those long words looks more correct to me. But as it's in the dictionary, I have to give it the benefit of the doubt.

Is it really correct?

  • 2
    "All them" is slang only. "All those" is correct, although I'm in the camp that prefers "all of those." Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 7:56
  • The Oxford Dictionary is somewhat misleading in labeling this a North American usage. Characters in Dickens novels say "anyways" and "all them" too. ELL regular @tetsujin IIRC would probably know if it is used in northern England.
    – TimR
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 12:12

1 Answer 1


This non-standard usage of 'them' comes from African-American Vernacular English, earlier known as Ebonics (a controversial term).

You can also find the usage of 'them' instead of 'those/these' in titles of some old folk songs, e. g. When You Hear Them Cuckoos Hollerin' by Joan Baez or there's a song by Slade (who often intentionally used non-standard language) called Them Kinda Monkeys Can't Swing.

  • This is not necessarily AAVE. books.google.com/…
    – TimR
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 12:02
  • Or books.google.com/…
    – TimR
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 12:07
  • I don't say 'originate', I say 'come (from)' (into modern language). It is a known thing that some origins of AAVE are in old English which came to America with old editions of Holy Bible used in summer schools for teaching some groups of population (incl. former slaves) in the past.
    – Alex_ander
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 12:36
  • 2
    People from various parts of England settled in the US and brought their regional dialects with them. The sentence in the OP could come just as readily out of the mouth of a white southerner.
    – TimR
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 12:40

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