Demonstratives - This, That, These, Those

The words ’this’, ’that’, ’these’, and ’those’ are called demonstratives. They tell us whether an object is close to you, or far away.


If you are talking about something close to you, use ’this’ and ’these'.

This is my pen.

The pen is close to you.

Are these books yours?

The books are close to you.

If you are talking about something farther away, use ’that’ and ’those'.

That is my house.

The house is down the street.

I like those flowers.

The flowers are over there.
For small objects and people, use ’this’ and ’these’ if they are close enough for you touch. Use ’that’ and ’those’ if you can point to the object or person.

Distance is not just physical distance. We can use ’this’, ’that’, ’these’, and ’those’ to show distance in time.

I like this film.

I am watching the film now. It is close in time, so we use ’this'.

I liked that film.

I watched the film last week. It is far away in time, so we use ’that'.

Singular and Plural

Demonstratives relate a noun. We use a different demonstrative depending on whether the noun is singular or plural.

Singular = 1 item Plural = 2+ items

If the noun is singular we use ’this’ and ’that'.

This pen

You are talking about one pen.

That house

You are talking about one house.

If the noun is plural we use ’these’ and ’those'.

Those pens

You are talking about many pens.

Those houses

You are talking about many houses.

Using Demonstratives

You can use demonstratives in two ways. You can use them to modify a noun or to replace a noun.

If it modifies a noun, it is called a demonstrative determiner.

If it replaces a noun, it is called a demonstrative pronoun.

Demonstrative Determiners

Demonstrative determiners modify a noun. We use ’this’, ’that’, ’these’, or ’those’ before the noun we are talking about.

this/that/these/those + noun

I like this film.

‘This’ modifies the noun, ‘film’. It tells us the film is close to the speaker.

Demonstrative determiners are also called demonstrative adjectives.

Demonstrative determiner = Demonstrative adjective.

Demonstrative Pronouns

We can use ’this’, ’that’, ’these’, and ’those’ as pronouns. They replace the noun.

This is my brother.

John is my brother.

We can use ’this’ as a pronoun to replace the noun ‘John’.