If I understand correctly, the phrase "x thinks it's people" is used to say that something (usually an animal) behaves like a human being. An example:

Wherever you turn your head, you can see a tabby in a party hat or a Siamese cat ‘playing chess like it thinks it’s people’.

From: Oxford Dictionaries Blog

But why do we have here "people" instead of "a human"? I mean, to me the structure of this expression looks like this: one entity (an animal) is many entities (people). Or maybe "people" is not a noun here?

  • That is an awkward construction. I prefer more formal grammar: ...a Siamese cat "playing chess as if it thinks itself a person."
    – Adam
    Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 22:16
  • 1
    Yeah, as Crazy Eyes mentions, it thinks it’s people is now a saying or idiom that was popularized by its use on an episode of the TV show The Simpsons. Not every English speaker will have heard of it, or recognize the origin, because not everybody is a fan of the show.
    – user6951
    Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 1:35
  • One also notes that you can be a person without being human.
    – Mary
    Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 3:22

1 Answer 1


This isn't a grammatical mistake, but a reference to an old Simpsons episode from 1994. The phrase is meant to be said in a condescending tone: "Aww, it thinks it's people!" It means exactly what you think it means. The grammatical error is done intentionally for comedic effect.

  • 2
    Was this phrase already popular in the '90s? Or has it become common recently thanks to meme culture?
    – user10056
    Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 13:53
  • A marathon of the Simpsons entire series collection was recently hosted on FXX. Perhaps that's the reason you have heard this phrase?
    – dockeryZ
    Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 0:49

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