This - That - These -Those

English Grammar Notes - Demonstratives

This, That, These, Those - Demonstratives in English


This, That, These, Those are called demonstratives and they are used to show the relative distance between the speaker and the noun.

Demonstrative Pronouns

We use this (singular) and these (plural) to refer to something that is here / near.

Examples:

  • This is my car. (singular)
  • These are our children. (plural)

We use that (singular) and those (plural) to refer to something that is there / far.

Examples:

  • That is our house. (singular)
  • Those are my shoes. (plural)

Note that the verb changes (i.e. singular / plural) depending on the pronoun that you use.

You can also use Demonstrative Pronouns by themselves:

  • Did you do that?
  • I'd like to buy these?
  • Which of those would you like?

Demonstrative Adjectives

You can also use demonstratives before a noun. These are called demonstrative adjectives.

The Demonstrative Adjective needs to agree (= be the same form) as the noun.

Examples of demonstrative adjectives:

  • This party is boring. (singular)
  • That city is busy. (singular)
  • These chocolates are delicious. (plural)
  • Those flowers are beautiful. (plural)

Summary - What is the difference between Demonstrative Adjectives and Demonstrative Pronouns?

Demonstrative Adjectives and Demonstrative Pronouns use the same words. The easiest way to know that difference is that Demonstrative Adjectives are always before a noun while Demonstrative Pronouns are before a verb or by themselves.

  • This book is old. (Demonstrative Adjective + Noun)
  • This is new. (Demonstrative Pronoun + Verb)
  • Did you like that? (Demonstrative Pronoun by itself)

Everything else is the same. For example, both Demonstrative Ajectives and Pronouns use the word THIS (singular) to talk about something that is close to you and the plural of THIS is THESE.


Present vs. Past

If an action is near in time we tend to use this / these.
If an action has finished or is in the past we use that / those.

Examples:

  • This is a good meal. (at the time of eating)
  • Those girls we met last night were silly. (an event that happened in the past).

This is

The expression this is is commonly used when you talk on the phone or you introduce people.

Examples:

  • "Hello, this is Peter."
  • Carol, this is my friend Simon. Simon, this is Carol.


Next activity

Try our interactive games to practice this: This That These Those 1 and This That These Those 2.


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Last Updated: 05 November 2014
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