There are four demonstratives in the English language.

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  • this

  • that

  • these

  • those

Purposes of demonstratives

A) Demonstratives are determiners that point toman pointing something specific instead of something general.

I want THAT shirt.

Does THIS jacket belong to you?

THOSE flowers are beautiful!

THESE cookies are delicious.

Demonstratives tell us exactly what the speaker is talking about.

It might help to make a mental picture of someone pointing to what they are referring to.

B) Demonstratives also tell us where a person or thing is located in relation to the speaker, either physically or in time.

THIS and THESE tell us the noun is close to the speaker or is currently happening.

boy catching a fish

This is a fun day!
(The "fun day" is happening now.)

man holding flowers

These flowers are for you.

(The flowers are close to the speaker because he is holding them.)


and THOSE tell us the noun is farther away from the speaker or has already happened.


winning a game

was a great game!

(The game has already happened.)

boats sinking in water

boats are sinking!

(The boats are out in the water.)

Demonstratives can be either singular or plural.

THIS and THAT are used with uncountable nouns or singular countable nouns.

dog, drink, child, sugar, salt

THESE and THOSE are used with plural countable nouns.

lights, houses, mice, computers

Demonstratives can be used as adjectives or pronouns.

1. Demonstrative Adjectives (determiners)

This, That, These, and Those are called demonstrative adjectives when they are used to modify a noun.

Demonstrative adjectives are used as determiners.

Demonstrative adjectives can go in the following places in sentences:

A) before the noun

  • This house is bigger than that house.

  • Those flowers are my favorite color.

  • These tomatoes are from my garden.

B) before the word "one"

This and That can also be placed before the word "one" when "one" is being used as the subject of the sentence.

  • This one is my favorite.

  • That movie is better than this one.

    (That movie is better than this movie.)

C) before any adjectives that come before the noun

  • I remember that sunny morning when we met.

  • This black coat is mine.

  • Did you see those silly, white ducks?

  • These friendly students are in my class.

2. Demonstrative Pronouns

This, That, These, and Those are called Demonstrative Pronouns when they are used by themselves in place of a noun or they are used to refer to a noun.



is the man who stole my money!

("That" refers to "the man.")

man with pizza

This is a tasty pizza.
("This" refers to the "pizza.")

man with gifts

These are all for me!
("These" refers to the gifts because they are near.)

Those are his gifts.
("Those" refers to "his gifts.")

These were the rules of Demonstratives. Now that you know them, it is time to practice! Get our ESL Books.

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