they and them

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Apr 15 14:26:29 UTC 2005

At 4:08 PM -0700 4/14/05, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
>my student Tommy Grano, investigating pronoun case in coordination, has
>come across a fair number of examples of "they and them", as in the
>following (which is about homosexuals):
>I''ve heard lots of negative comments about the topic, and I think we
>shoul relax. Why try to ruin someone elses day or life because of your
>personal beliefs. Let them be happy and free, just as they probably
>want you to be happy and free. And don''t use the word tolerance, they
>have done nothing to require you to tolerate them. (They and them
>actually are everybody else in the world, because you are just as
>unique as everyone else.)

I think, with Ron, that the above example really is an instance of
use/mention, but the ones below (in arnold's "further observation"
are not).  Isn't the "anem" (as in "momanem") supposedly a trait of

>at first i was just baffled by such examples, but then i realized that
>this was just the extension of the pattern "NP and them" 'NP and any
>others of that sort' (as in "Kim and/'n' them") to the case where the
>NP is the pronoun "they".
>observation: it's always "NP and/'n' them", never NP and/'n' they", no
>matter what the syntactic function of the coordination (subject, in the
>example above).
>further observation: there are cases of "they and them" functioning as
>object -- for instance, of the P "for" in the following examples:
>... THEY >are askeered! >o well >o hell >too bad for they and them >i
>don't do whore and i do not do tit bar dances >they wish with all of
>their might ...
> forum.cgi?noframes;read=43069
>I'm just stuck with the stupidity and inadequencies of those who were
>suppoed to be representing me and you but ripped us off for they and
>this suggests that "they and them" is a fixed expression and could
>appear in the speech/writing even of people who don't otherwise have
>nominative coordinate objects, who wouldn't say "...ripped us off for
>they and Kim".  if so, you wouldn't expect to have "them and them" used
>this way as an object. these speculations are not easy to check by
>googling, unfortunately.
>query: anyone know of any study of this expression?
>further query: i know there are studies of "XP and/'n' stuff/shit"
>("hard liquor and stuff", "hot dogs 'n' shit", "got angry 'n' shit",
>"all happy and stuff") -- though i can't at the moment lay my hands on
>the references -- but are there any of "NP and/'n' them"?
>still further query: is there a more or less standard, or even just
>good, label for these indefinite extender phrases with "and"?

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