Thay vs They - What's the difference?

thay | they |

As a noun thay

is corpse.

As a pronoun they is

(the third-person plural) a group of people, animals.

As a determiner they is

(archaic|or|dialectal) those (used for people).



Etymology 1


  • * {{quote-book, year=1861, author=Thomas Hughes, title=Tom Brown at Oxford, chapter=, edition= citation
  • , passage="The chaps as catches the big fishes, sir," went on the keeper, getting confidential, "is thay cussed night-line poachers." }}

    Etymology 2


  • * {{quote-book, year=1868, author=Sophie May, title=Dotty Dimple at Her Grandmother's, chapter=, edition= citation
  • , passage="Good girlth don't thay tho," said sweet little Charlie rather shocked. }}
  • * {{quote-book, year=1903, author=Burt L. Standish, title=Frank Merriwell's Bravery, chapter=, edition= citation
  • , passage=Do you mean to thay I am no gentleman, thir?}}

    Etymology 3


  • * {{quote-book, year=1506, author=Alexander Barclay, title=The Ship of Fools, Volume 1, chapter=, edition= citation
  • , passage=Yet fynde I another sort almoste as bad as thay . }}
  • * {{quote-book, year=1566, author=John Knox, title=The Works of John Knox, Vol. 1 (of 6), chapter=, edition= citation
  • , passage=But potent is he against whome thei faught; for when thay wicked war in greatast securitie, then begane God to schaw his anger. }}
  • * {{quote-book, year=1838, author=William Makepeace Thackeray, title=Memoirs of Mr. Charles J. Yellowplush, chapter=, edition= citation
  • , passage=Law bless us! there was four of us on this stairkes, four as nice young men as you ever see: Mr. Bruffy's young man, Mr. Dawkinses, Mr. Blewitt's, and me--and we knew what our masters was about as well as thay did theirselfs. }}



    (wikipedia they)


  • (the third-person plural) A group of people, animals
  • Fred and Jane? They just arrived.
    I have a car and a truck, but they are both broken.
  • * 2010 , Iguana Invasion!: Exotic Pets Gone Wild in Florida (ISBN 1561644684), page 9:
  • There is no reason to be scared of iguanas. They do not attack humans.
  • (the third-person singular, sometimes proscribed) A single person, previously mentioned, especially if of unknown or non-binary gender.
  • * 1594 , , Comedy of Errors , Act IV, Scene 3:
  • There's not a man I meet but doth salute me
    As if I were their well-acquainted friend.
  • *
  • Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.
  • *
  • * {{quote-book, year = 1997, first = J. K., last = Rowling, authorlink = J. K. Rowling
  • , title = (w, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone), location = (quoted edition: London, publisher=Bloomsbury, 2000, isbn = 0 7475 5955 9, page = 187), url =, passage = Someone knocked into Harry as they hurried past him. It was Hermione.}}
  • * 2008 , (Michelle Obama), quoted in (Lisa Rogak), Michelle Obama in Her Own Words , New York, NY: PublicAffairs, 2009. ISBN 978 1 58648 762 1, page 18:
  • One thing a nominee earns is the right to pick the vice president that they think will best reflect their vision of the country, and I am just glad I will have nothing to do with it.
  • *
  • People; some people; someone, excluding the speaker.
  • They say it’s a good place to live.
    They didn’t have computers in the old days.
    They should do something about this.
    They have a lot of snow in winter.
  • * 2000 , Janice Giles, Hill Man , page 58:
  • They ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.
  • * 2008 , Christian Carvajal, Lightfall , page 82:
  • But they ain’t nothin’ in there you didn’t already have.
  • * 2010 , Alessandro Portelli, They Say in Harlan County: An Oral History , page 207:
  • Well, they ’s a lot of ‘em didn’t survive, if you believe me.

    Usage notes

    * (singular pronoun) They'' began to be used as a singular pronoun in the 1300s. This usage has been common ever since, despite attempts by some grammarians, beginning in 1795,Anne Bodine, ''Androcentrism in Prescriptive Grammar: Singular `they', Sex-indefinite `he', and `he or she, in ''Language in Society'', v. 4 (1975), pages 129-146 to condemn it as a violation of traditional (Latinate) agreement rules. Some other grammarians have countered that criticism since at least 1896.William Malone Baskervill and James Witt Sewell's ''An English Grammar'' (1896) says singular ''they'' is "frequently found ''when the antecedent includes or implies both genders''. The masculine does not really represent a feminine antecedent"; it furthermore recommends changing it to ''he'' or ''she'' "''unless both genders are implied''". (Italics in original.) ''Fowler's Modern English Usage'' (third edition) notes that it "is being left unaltered by copy editors" and is "not widely felt to lie in a prohibited zone." Some authors have compared the use of singular ''they'' to the widespread use of singular ''you'' instead of ''thou''.Michael Reed, ''Tech Book 1'' (ISBN 0956081312), ''Note abut pronoun usage'', page 9: "Singular ''they'' can introduce some ambiguity because the antecedent of the pronoun “they” could theoretically be a male or female [... but] English has survived the loss of pronouns such as ''thou'' (singular ''you'') despite the consequent potential for ambiguity."John McWhorter, ''Word on the Street: Debunking the Myth of a Pure Standard'' (2009, ISBN 0786731478): "In this light, our modern grammarians' discomfort with singular ''they'' is nothing but this comical intermediate stage in an inevitable change, as misguided and futile as the old grumbles about singular ''you''." See for a more in-depth discussion. See also the usage notes about '''''themself . * (singular pronoun) Infrequently, they is used of an individual person of known, binary gender. See . * (singular pronoun) Infrequently, they'' is used of an individual animal which would more commonly be referred to as ''it . See . * For information on the use of he as a generic singular pronoun (for individuals of unspecified or female gender), see he . * (indefinite pronoun) One is also an indefinite pronoun, but the two words do not mean the same thing and are rarely interchangeable. "They" refers to people in general, whereas "one" refers to one person (often such that what is true for that person is true for everyone). A writer may also use "you" when talking to everyone in the audience. *: They say, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." *: One may say, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." *: You may say, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

    See also

    (English personal pronouns) * other gender-neutral pronouns


    (en determiner)
  • (archaic, or, dialectal) those (used for people)
  • * 1802 Swedenborg, E. Arcana cœlestia: or Heavenly mysteries contained in the sacred Scriptures, or Word of the Lord, manifested and laid open [an exposition of Genesis and Exodus]. J. & E. Hodson
  • Whereas they are called nations, who are principled in charity and they people who are principled in faith, therefore the priesthood of the Lord is predicated of nations as relation to things celestial, which are goodnesses...
  • * 1883 Judy, or the London serio-comic journal, Volume 33 Harvard University []
  • Darn'd if they Cockney Chaps can zee there worn't nort but lie in him.


    * Online Etymology Dictionary