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How to Use Demonstratives - this, that, these, those for English

Demonstratives- this, that, these, those

The English Language


The Explanation

Demonstratives are the words that are used to show the relative distance between the speaker and the noun or the words that show which particular thing or person is being referred to in a sentence. The demonstratives in the English language are this, that, these, and those.

e.g.:

  • This is my Sister--'this' here is a demonstrative

  • That is not the right way--'that' here is a demonstrative



How to use demonstratives

Demonstratives generally differ according to the

  • Distance- near or far

  • Number- singular or plural

Below are the main distinctions while using the demonstratives

  • ‘This’ modifies or refers to singular nouns that are near to the person mentioning it.

  • ‘That’ modifies or refers to singular nouns that are far from the person mentioning it.

  • ‘These’ modify or refers to plural nouns that are near to the person mentioning it

  • ‘Those’ modify or refers to plural nouns that are far from the person mentioning it.


Grammar rules for using the Demonstratives

  1. Using Demonstratives

We can use demonstratives in two ways, either to modify a noun or to replace a noun.

  • In case the demonstrative modifies a noun, it is called a demonstrative determiner/demonstrative adjective

  • In case the demonstrative replaces a noun, it is called a demonstrative pronoun


  1. Difference between the Demonstrative Pronoun and Demonstrative Adjective

There is a clear difference between demonstrative adjectives (or demonstrative determiners) and demonstrative pronouns (or independent demonstratives).

  • Demonstrative Pronouns: A demonstrative pronoun generally replaces the noun rather than modifying it.

‘This’ (singular) and ‘These’ (plural) is used to refer to something that is here / near.

e.g.:

  • This is my house (singular)

  • These are our books (plural)

‘That’ (singular) and ‘Those’ (plural) to refer to something that is there / far.

e.g.:

  • That is our car (singular)

  • Those are my sceneries (plural)


It is important to note that the verb changes (i.e. singular/plural) depending on the pronoun that we use.

We can also use Demonstrative Pronouns by themselves

e.g.:

  • I'd like to sell these?

  • Which of those would you like to buy?


  • Demonstrative Adjectives: A demonstrative adjective is used to modify a noun

e.g.:

  • This Orange is good. In the sentence ‘This’ modifies 'apple’

  • I like those clothes. In the sentence ‘those’ modifies ‘clothes’


Various ways to use ‘this’ and ‘these’

‘This’ (singular) and ‘These’ (plural) are used as pronouns

  1. to talk about people or things near us

e.g.:

  • This is a nice book to read

  • Whose clothes are these?


  1. To introduce people

e.g.:

  • This is Maria

  • These are my colleagues, Jim and Melissa


  1. To introduce ourselves to begin a conversation on the phone:


  • Hello, this is Jill; Can I speak to the owner?

Various ways to use ‘that’ and ‘those’

That’(singular) and ‘Those’ (plural) are used to

  1. To talk about things that are not near us

e.g.:

  • This is our office, and that’s Clara’s office over there.

  • Those are very expensive suits.


  1. We also use that to refer back to something someone said or did

e.g.:

  • Shall we go to the movie? Yes, that’s a brilliant plan.

  • I’m very upset today. Why is that?








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