Demonstrative Pronouns in English–This, That, These, and Those
Demonstrative pronouns point out or demonstrate something specific in a sentence. They can point out a thing or a time. We know that a pronoun takes the place of a noun. Demonstrative pronouns take the place of the specific information that is being pointed out. They are 4 main demonstrative pronouns: this, that, these, and those. In this posting I talk about how to use demonstrative pronouns. I give you many example sentences. The download at the end will give you more practice using and understanding demonstrative pronouns.
Demonstrative pronouns this and these
Demonstrative pronouns may be singular or plural. This is singular. These is plural. Both refer to a person or an object that is close by, or an event that happened recently or will happen soon. The following sentences will be written, first, without a demonstrative pronouns, and then with this or these. You will be able to see what this or these replace.
- The ring on my finger was my mother’s ring. This was my mother’s ring.
- The yoga position you are showing me really hurts. This really hurts.
- Have you seen the new video on YouTube? Have you seen this?
- The chicken you just made is delicious! This is delicious!
- The man on my left is my father. This is my father.
- The shoes you are showing me are pretty, but they hurt my feet. These are pretty, but they hurt my feet.
- The times we are living in now are difficult times. These are difficult times.
This and these can also function as demonstrative adjectives.
Demonstrative pronouns that and those
The demonstrative pronouns that and those replace people or things that are farther away from you. They may also refer to an even that happened some time ago, or will not happen soon. That is singular and those is plural. The following sentences will be written first without the demonstrative pronoun, and then with it.
- The car across the street looks like the car I used to drive. That looks like the car I used to drive.
- The shoes my mother bought me last year were too small for me. Those were too small for me.
- Can you see the flowers down the street? Can you see those?
That and those can also function as demonstrative adjectives.
Using demonstrative pronouns and demonstrative adjectives to compare
We sometimes use this and that or these and those in the same sentence when we compare people, objects, or events. Look at the following sentences.
- I prefer this house to that one. Note–one house is close to you, the other is not.
- I prefer this to that. Note–of course you need to know what this and that are referring to.
- This coat is warmer than that coat.
- These classes are harder than those ones.
- These are harder than those.
- These times are more difficult than those times.
Some other ways to use demonstrative pronouns
The demonstrative pronouns this and that can also be used in some more abstract ways. Let us look at this.
- The demonstrative pronouns this can refer to a recent event. I have so many problems, and now this! My boss just called me in a fired me! Note–this refers to being fired.
- This can refer to a problem or a good this that is going on right now. This is crazy! I just got a speeding ticket, and I was driving under the speed limit! Note–this refers to how crazy is is to get a ticket when you were not speeding. This is great! I just got a raise!
The demonstrative pronoun that can refer to a general problem, not just a personal one, or to a general good thing. That can also refer to a person problem or good thing that happened in the past, but is finished now.
- Our planet is getting warmer and warmer. That‘s dangerous.
- People are living longer than ever now. That‘s great!
- Last year I had to get up at 3:00 am every day to go to work. That was crazy!
Some other demonstrative pronouns
Three other words can sometimes function as demonstrative pronouns or demonstrative adjectives. These words are such, neither, or none. Look at the following sentences.
- Such was her cooking ability. This means that she is either a really good cook, or a really bad one. We will have to taste her food to know for sure!
- She is such a good cook!
- Neither is possible right now.
- Neither choice that you asked for is possible right now.
- None is correct.
- None of your answers is correct.
You now know that demonstrative pronouns point out something specific in a sentence. There are 4 demonstrative pronouns: this, that, these, and those. This (singular) refers to people, items, or events close by or near in time. That (singular) and those (plural) refer to people, items, or events farther away and not near in time. all of these words can also function as demonstrative adjectives. Some times the words such, neither, and none can function as demonstrative pronouns or demonstrative adjectives. The download will give you additional practice using and understanding demonstrative pronouns.
Idioms of the day
- this and that –This means nothing very specific, but a little bit of many things. My brother and I didn’t talk about anything really important. We just talked about this and that for a while.
- That’s the way the cookie crumbles –This means that this is the way things happen sometimes. My car broke, so I couldn’t get to work. My boss didn’t understand. He fired me. I guess that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.