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This/That/These/Those: Demonstrative Adjectives and Pronouns

The demonstrative adjectives this/that/these/those, which may also be pronouns, tell us where an object is located and how many objects there are.

This and that are used to point to one object. This points to something nearby, while that points to something “over there.”
Examples: This dog is mine.
This is mine.
That dog is hers.
That is hers.
These and those refer to more than one object. These points to things nearby, while those points to things “over there.”
Examples: These babies have been smiling for a while.
These are mine.
Those babies in the nursery have been crying for hours.
Those are yours.

Posted on Tuesday, March 23, 2010, at 9:09 am


20 Comments

20 Responses to “This/That/These/Those: Demonstrative Adjectives and Pronouns”

  1. Dorota Naumienko says:

    Is it possible to abbreviate the demonstrative adjective ,,those” with a verb ,,are” like that:
    Those’re my…

    Could you send me an explanation?

    Best regards
    Dorota Naumienko

    • Jane says:

      Demonstrative adjectives are not typically used to form a contraction in English. The Chicago Manual of Style’s Rule 5.103 says, “Most types of writing benefit from the use of contractions. If used thoughtfully, contractions in prose sound natural and relaxed and make reading more enjoyable. Be-verbs and most of the auxiliary verbs are contracted when followed by not: are–aren’t; was–wasn’t; cannot–can’t; could not–couldn’t; do not–don’t; and so on. A few, such as ought not–oughtn’t, look or sound awkward and are best avoided. Pronouns can be contracted with auxiliaries, forms of have, and some be-verbs. Think before using one of the less common contractions, which often don’t work well in prose, except perhaps in dialogue or quotations. Some examples are I’d’ve (I would have), she’d’ve (she would have) it’d (it would), should’ve (should have), there’re (there are), who’re (who are), and would’ve (would have). Also, some contracted forms can have more than one meaning. For instance, there’s may be there is or there has, and I’d may be I had or I would. The particular meaning may not always be clear from the context.” The AP Stylebook considers contractions informal and advises against using them excessively. If you are unsure of a contraction, check to see if it is listed in the dictionary.

  2. Al says:

    Indefinite articles is used before singular countable noun.

    BUT

    Is it possible to use Indefinite articles (a,an) before an adjective with Plural or Uncountable noun ?
    regards
    Al

  3. rose says:

    do this and that need a noun after them all the time? even when refering to an object in the sentence before? ie;

    • Jane says:

      It is possible to have a grammatically correct sentence in which this or that does not have a noun after it if the noun is implied. Examples:

      Do you expect me to clean the floor with this?
      I am not sure I can bake a cake in that.

  4. dolly jha says:

    Found the contents quite helpful.

  5. dolly jha says:

    Demonstrative Adjectives:I found them well explained
    However I would like to know the difference between demonstrative adjectives and demonstrative pronouns.

    Regards
    Dolly

    • Jane says:

      Demonstrative adjectives always describe a noun. Demonstrative pronouns can stand alone. Examples of demonstrative adjectives:

      That dog is mean.
      This restaurant is good.
      These shoes are the most comfortable.
      Those cups are dirty.

      Examples of demonstrative pronouns:

      That was really funny.
      This is way too expensive.
      These are just perfect!
      I want a pair of those.

  6. jenny says:

    thank you very much!!!!

  7. De says:

    Hello

    I would like to know the usage of “the” and “this” while explaining e.g. a parameter in help texts.

    Which one is correct?
    This parameter or The parameter?

    • Jane says:

      The word the is a definite article. It is used to indicate a person, thing, or idea that is clearly understood from the situation or that is common in daily life. The word this is used to indicate a person, thing, or idea that has just been mentioned or is being shown to you. We would need to know the specific sentence as well as the previous sentences in order to offer a recommendation regarding word usage.

  8. Pamela Cohen says:

    Trying to work out, in Shelley’s poem, Ozymandius

    the hand ‘that mock’d'…’ the heart that fed’

    grammatical function of ‘that’

    comes before a verb and after a noun each time.Adverb? Pronoun?

  9. leah says:

    In diagramming a sentence: Those very dark colors fade too quickly in the sun. Can those be the subject? or is it Colors? Is the object Sun?

  10. Julaina Kleist says:

    If someone writes, I believe this. Is the usage correct? It seems to me this is used as a demonstrative adjective and would need a noun after it?

    • The word this is used as a pronoun in your sentence, however, the sentence is slightly unclear as written. It could be rewritten the following ways:
      If someone writes, I believe it to be true.
      If someone puts it in writing, I believe it to be true.
      If it is in writing, I believe it.

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