Demonstrative adjectives have always been a tricky thing for me to decide how to use properly. A lot of this influence has come from my personal life, and the usage of grammar and of English of my family and friends. In my family, 'them' has traditionally been used as a demonstrative adjective to be utilized as a form of emphasis which was usually employed to indicate a serious affinity for a topic, a subject matter, or a particular item. I can recall walking through the mall with my brother when the latest edition of Air Jordans, a fairly expensive brand of tennis shoe, had recently come to retail stores.
"I want them Nikes" my brother said suddenly, stopping my mother and I with his overt enthusiasm.
"The blue ones?," my mother asked, innocently enough.
"No, them red ones," he said, pointing to the shiny red pair that glistened in the window of Footlocker.
However, the usage of them as a demonstrative adjective is unacceptable in Standard Written English, as can be indicated by a look within Changing English. However, it has become quite clear to me that the usage of this pronoun as a demonstrative adjective is fairly widespread. In the hypothetical example provided within this particular text, this point becomes abundantly clear with the example of "I'm not keen on them films" (Rhys, 2011). This example is categorized under a table of Non-Standard English expressions that are commonly used. While the table does not state the purpose for employing such an expression, which I have found to largely be for the sake of emphasis in my experience, it is quick to point out the standard form of this expression which is acceptable as "I'm not keen on those films." Still, it would be a while before I would run across this particular text in my life, and for the early part of my existence virtually all of my family members, and several of my friends, would readily employ them as a demonstrative adjective to emphasize how much they enjoyed something -- or, alternatively, how much they disliked something "I can't stand them green apples," I recall my father saying once.
Therefore, I was moved to search and see if there was every any grammatical justification for using them as a demonstrative adjective. The most commonly found and most properly used demonstrative adjectives, do not number "them" amongst them, as the following quotation readily indicates. "The demonstrative adjectives -- this/that/these/those -- tell us where an object is located and how many objects there are. This and that are used to point to one object. This points to something nearby while that points to something "over there." These and those refer to more than one object. These points to things nearby while those points to things "over there" (Grammar Blue Book, 2010). What I found interesting about this definition is that it indicated the relation in terms of proximity as well as that of number for which demonstrative adjectives should be used, but included virtually no information about truly emphasizing one's point. Perhaps the natural emphasis on using them as a demonstrative adjective can be found in the fact that it is grammatically incorrect and therefore sounds more ignorant, and more profound, by its very invocation.
This theory may be supported by the empirical evidence found in a study conducted by Jenny Cheshire and Viv Edwards which indicated the pervasive ubiquity that has come to characterize the usage of them as a demonstrative adjective. A survey of several schools throughout the United Kingdom placed the usage of them as an adjective (which a whopping 97.7% of those surveyed were guilty of employing) as first among a number of nonstandard expressions and sayings existent in this part of the world (Cheshire, Edwards, 1997).
While the overlying cause of using them as a demonstrative adjective may be left open to interpretation, one thing that is not is the effect of corrective measures. A lot of people have adopted this non-standard form of speaking, and as the following quotation implies, they may not be quick to exchange this habit for a standardized form of expression. "Sociologists stress that language is closely bound up with individual and social identity: criticisms of the way we speak are likely to be interpreted as personal attacks" (Cheshire, Edwards, 1997). Therefore, although it is certainly non-standard to use the term them as a demonstrative adjective, I (and a whole lot of other people) can rest assure that this phrase is widely used and that attempts to correct it can possibly cause more harm than good.
The author of this post certainly picked a good topic, and one of the most commonly heard errors in the speaking of the English language today. Double negatives are certainly widely used, and more often times such people who employ them are not aware of the correct meaning of their sentences. As a result, they frequently express an idea in an incorrect fashion where it is possible that they could come across as somewhat ignorant.
However, I am not sure if the author of this particular posting is aware of the fact that not all uses of double negatives are grammatically incorrect, and that his or her statement that "the use of two negative terms in one sentence brands the user as uneducated" is not always true. There are certain specific uses, such as those found within the realm of academic writing, where two negative terms can be used in a sentence and they do not obscure the meaning of the sentence and instead present an idea that is grammatically and logically sound. As an example, all anyone would need to do to witness evidence of this fact is to look at the initial sentence of this paragraph. The word "not" is used twice, and is merely used to express the idea that two things -- the first being that the usage of all double negatives is not necessarily wrong and the second that the use of two negatives in a sentence does not necessarily brand the user as uneducated -- are not necessarily true. There is no contradiction of ideas or "undoing" or two negatives to make a positive, therefore there is no grammatical error in the sentence, despite the fact that it employs two negative terms.
Perhaps the author of the post should have clarified his definition and stated that two negatives that seemingly contradict one another in a sentence make a person sound uneducated. But even that statement is not necessarily true. Again, a common example of such an occurrence can be quite frequently found within the realm of academic writing, particularly when one is forced to utilize quotations to either prove or disprove a point (and everyone is aware of how frequently quotations are invoked in academic writing. For example, if a writer were to disprove something written in a text, he or she could acceptably write a sentence stating: 'At the time, Beowulf is wrong for thing that it is not going to be "not hot at all next week" because as the reader clearly sees in the following chapter, it turned out be a blistering hot week for the following fortnight." In this example, there is a contradiction implied in the two double negatives that cancel one another out, meaning that it will in fact be hot. Although this was purely a hypothetical example, there are cases of this nature which occur quite frequently in different aspects of academic writing.
Other examples of the proper usage of double negatives can be found in the Oxford dictionary website, in which double negatives are acceptable if they are used as an implicit means of expressing an idea, which the…