On a video on BBC web site, the speaker says this;

In them days, that just did not happen.

It struck me as soon as I heard it. And luckily there is the subtitles. It clearly says "In them days".

I searched online and tried to look up it but could not find any such expression.

Is there really such an expression in English? If yes, why dictionaries do not include it and does it mean "In those days"?

Here is the video, see 00:47-00:50: CEO Secrets: 'I learned a great lesson in betting shops'

  • 3
    Your question is a good one, but dictionaries don't generally include phrases (unless the phrase has a very specific meaning by itself) so you shouldn't expect to find every phrase in a dictionary. You won't find "in those days" in the dictionary either, no?
    – stangdon
    Jan 5 at 12:38
  • 5
    In some dialects, people use them where a more 'correct' speaker would say those. This speaker has evidently retained the usage from his working-class boyhood. It isn't listed in dictionaries because it is not standard English. Jan 5 at 12:40
  • 2
    A person from Bristol might say of his mother, 'In they days, her took I to school on the bus'. Jan 5 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


Using 'them' instead of 'those' is a dialect form. Not all native English speakers speak the 'standard English' taught in language schools and in foreign countries, all the time. Some never do, and some only do so on formal occasions, or when (for example) being interviewed for radio or TV. This is especially true in the UK, where 'talking properly' has social prestige.

Many speakers speak, partly or fully, a dialect which can reflect social class or regional origin, or both. This is true in the UK and US.

Writers of grammar books have preached against using 'them' where standard English uses 'those' for at least 250 years. Writers of web-based grammar 'guides' still do so now.

Many persons are apt, in conversation, to put the oblique case of the personal pronouns, in the place of these and those; as, Give me them books, instead of those books. We may sometimes, find this fault even in writing.

From The Rudiments of English Grammar For the Use of Those Who Have Made Some Proficiency in the Language (Joseph Priestley, London, 1772)

  • "Well done," she squeaked.
    – Lambie
    Jan 5 at 21:38

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