Q - Can I get the 16 digit card number? A - Sure, hmm Q - So can I have them?

My question here is that numbers are supposed to be a non-living thing and ideally it is what is used for non-living things. So shouldn't the answer be "So can I have it?"

  • 2
    It has nothing to do with living or non-living subjects, just the plurality of the subject itself. Use them for plural subjects, and it for a singular subject. In this case, though, I'd use it because you're asking for a 16-digit string off a card, which (though made of many digits) is a single thing.
    – VampDuc
    Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 17:06
  • I don't know what the 16 digit card refers to, but whatever it is could be established, and syntactically it's a single thing. Certainly if I say I want the latest book by David Deutsch I don't expect to be offered more than one copy. Although I suppose the bibliothecary (sorry - couldn't resist! :) might produce hard- and softback copies for me to choose between. Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 17:15
  • Hi VampDuc, thank you for a swift reply. If someone to say " I have three books, that i took from you " Will the answer " Can i have them" be deemed correct. As per the previous explanation it seems a "yes" but would u have something I could study more on. Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 17:21

1 Answer 1


The use of "it" versus "them" as pronouns has nothing to do with living or non-living subjects.

Use "them" for plural subjects and "it" for singular subjects.


There is a 16-digit code on your card. Please enter it into the box.

There is only one 16-digit code, which makes the subject singular, so you say "it," referring to the entire code.

There are four 4-digit chunks on your card. Please enter them into the box.

There are four chunks, which makes the subject plural, so you say "them," referring to all the chunks.

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