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I would really appreciate it, if you could help me.

  1. I like movies that make me think about the movies
  2. I like movies that make me think about themselves.
  3. I like movies that make me think about them

which one is right?

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    I like movies that make me think. – Catija Mar 10 '15 at 5:42
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    Please, oh please stop accepting answers so quickly @Jihoon! It means that you probably won't get any more answers. This is bad for you and very bad for the site in general. It's good to have several answers and points of view to think about when you look at a question. Not just one! :-) – Araucaria - Not here any more. Mar 10 '15 at 13:00
  • @Araucaria - I agree with you; perhaps jihoon should read the "not so fast" meta post. – J.R. Mar 10 '15 at 22:58
  • @jihoon This is a good question. Not sure why you're getting down-votes on it ... :) – Araucaria - Not here any more. Mar 11 '15 at 14:51
  • @Araucaria I wonder that myself. I remember that mine was the first upvote. Maybe it's because Jihoon accepted the answer too quickly. Maybe some of our members wished to see more details in the question. I really have no idea. – Damkerng T. Mar 12 '15 at 5:40
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In simpler words, you like 'thoughtful movies'. :)

Catija actually nailed it.

I like movies that make me think

And that's it. Those movies make you think and it's utterly understood that they make you think about the topics/subjects they are made on.

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    "I will avoid using 'them' for non-living things here" sounds like an odd reason to me. Is there anything wrong with them referring to non-living things? The best I can say about why @Catija suggests "I like movies that make me think" is because "I like movies that make me think about the movies" is odd. A typical phrase with about would be "I like movies that make me think about life" or "I like movies that make me think about reality", etc. – Damkerng T. Mar 10 '15 at 7:08
  • @DamkerngT. I'd still not specify 'about something' there. I like movies that make me think. I don't want to be genre specific. And I said, I'd avoid 'them' for inanimate objects especially when we have better choice. I'd certainly ask someone to 'look at those doors' over 'look at them' though the listener knows which doors I'm talking about. – Maulik V Mar 10 '15 at 7:17
  • @DamkerngT. considering your point, I removed that as a reason. Now, it's an opinion! :) – Maulik V Mar 10 '15 at 7:20
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    I am looking for my car keys. Have you seen them? Perfectly acceptable, IMO. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 10 '15 at 11:09
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  1. I like movies that make me think about the movies.
  2. I like movies that make me think about themselves.
  3. I like movies that make me think about them.

As Catija said in the comments, probably the most natural thing to say might be I like movies that make me think. However, there are two important ideas in the Original Poster's question. The first idea is:

  • Can we use the pronouns them and themselves to talk about things. Or can should we only use these words for people?

The answer is that if you are referring to things that have already been talked about you SHOULD use the pronoun them in most situations:

  • He gave me some chocolates, but I didn't like them.

It would be very unnatural if we repeated the noun chocolates here:

  • He gave me some chocolates, but I didn't like the chocolates.

The second interesting idea from the Original question is:

  • Do we need to use a reflexive pronoun themselves in this sentence. Why?

The answer is that, usually, we only need a reflexive pronoun if the pronoun is in the same smallest clause as the main noun. Every time we have a second lexical verb, this creates a new small clause. In the Original Poster's example the verb think has it's own small clause inside the bigger sentence. We understand the subject of the clause as me. The verb in the clause is think. The complement of think is the phrase about them. The word them refers to the movies. Because the original noun phrase the movies does not appear in this small clause, we can just use the normal pronoun them, we do not need the reflexive pronoun themselves.

Hope this is helpful!

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  • You mean He gave me some chocolates, but I didn't like those is incorrect? – Maulik V Mar 12 '15 at 5:15
  • @MaulikV The choice between them and those is not about whether the things you're referring to are living things or not (i.e. animacy). Considering your English skills, I believe that you already know it, at least unconsciously. If that doesn't ring any bells, you can try searching for the difference between anaphora and deixis. You could also ask it as a question on ELL. It could be an interesting question. – Damkerng T. Mar 12 '15 at 5:29
  • @DamkerngT. thanks for your kind advice and believing on my skills. If I remember, I have even answered many questions on using pronouns for animate/inanimate things. I had GrammarGirl's references for that I guess. My sole purpose was to tell that if the option is available, I'd go for 'those' over 'them' for inanimate objects. And that's it! That said, you gave me chocolates and I did not like those. I'll not prefer an objective case of 'they'. – Maulik V Mar 12 '15 at 5:36
  • @MaulikV No, but it means something different:-) If you use those you sound like you're contrasting with something else. For example, that you did like something else he gave you. Those is deictic. :) – Araucaria - Not here any more. Mar 12 '15 at 10:46
  • then, I need to learn this. Putting a question! – Maulik V Mar 12 '15 at 11:11

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