I wonder all the time why one of the Alice in Chains songs is named "Them Bones"? Shouldn't it be "their"? The whole verse goes like this "I believe them bones are me," and in my opinion it should use the possessive pronoun "their."

The same with name of the band "All Them Witches". I would say "All Their Witches"—then it would make sense to me, but clearly there's something I just don't know and don't understand.

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    It's dialect/regional usage or -for many bands- used with the purposes of imitating a certain regional speech or the speech of a fictional character. The same applies, for instance, to me/my in Irish English "... and I spent all me money on whiskey and beer" ... By the way, within this type of usage "them" often stands for "these"/"those" instead of "their". Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 0:46
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    About the band that you mention, they apparently got their name from a fictional book that appears in Rosemary's Baby with the title "All Of Them Witches", so that's another usage too Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 0:55

2 Answers 2


It's a dialect/slang, but it doesn't mean "their"—it means "those."

The dialect in question is primarily associated with the Appalachian and southern regions of the United States. I'm not sure why Alice in Chains, whose main songwriter is from Washington state, in the Pacific northwest, chose to use this phrasing, though. It makes more sense for All Them Witches, who are from Tennessee.

See this question over on English.SE for lots more detailed information on this usage.

  • "Them bones" may specifically reference the old song "Dem Bones", a spiritual that uses African American dialect from the 19th century.
    – James K
    Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 1:21

It is a dialectal variant of the word "those" (not "their"). As in "those bones" and "all those witches."

I can't really speak to the origin or prevalence of this usage, but I would say that most native (US) English speakers would understand it, even though it is non-standard.

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