I know this was a joke on Facebook, the thing about storming Area 51. But, what catched my eyes is the "them". Is this playing on word? Or, is this grammaticality sound? Or is this a joke because I, as non native speaker, don't get it. Isn't it supposed to be:

Let's see them, the aliens
Let's see the aliens

I hope this question isn't off-topic but I really want to know.


1 Answer 1


Them is a colloquial way of saying those, such as here

There's gold in them thar hills.

and usually, what them refers to has already been mentioned. It's not just a synonym though, it might be a way to express mockery or disbelief in something rumoured:

Let's see them aliens.

So in this case it is loaded and says rather more than "those".

  • 2
    I would not use "them" in that way until you get very confident and practised. Jul 24, 2019 at 17:51
  • 3
    I would say demonstrative them is nowadays characteristic of dialect rather than register; speakers of standard Englishes only use it jocularly, or in imitation or mockery. A learner would be best to avoid it. But like so many things, this is a social convention, dating only from the 19th century. The Lord's Prayer in the earliest editions of the Book of Common Prayer reads forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.
    – choster
    Jul 24, 2019 at 17:51
  • @choster: that is different. Them is normally a pronoun, and using it for pronoun those is less common, but still standard. In the question, them is used as a determiner (traditional grammars would have called it a demonstrative adjective) and that has never been standard as far as I know. .
    – Colin Fine
    Jul 24, 2019 at 22:51

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