This, that, these, those
This, that, these and those are demonstratives. We use this, that, these and those to point to people and things. This and that are singular. These and those are plural. We use them as determiners and pronouns.
This, that, these, those as determiners
Pointing to things
We use this and that with singular and uncountable nouns:
Try to repeat this exercise every morning and evening. (this + singular countable noun)
What does this music make you think of? (this + singular uncountable noun)
I’ve never been to that part of France. (that + singular countable noun)
Can I have some of that juice, please? (that + singular uncountable noun)
We use these and those with plural nouns:
You can use any one of these computers. (these + plural noun)
I need to paint those windows. (those + plural noun)
We often use this with words describing time and dates like morning, afternoon, evening, week, month, year to refer to ‘the one that’s coming’ or ‘the one we’re currently in’:
I’ll be with you some time this evening.
Johan seemed very happy this afternoon.
Ian is in Germany all this week.
This, that, these, those as pronouns
Referring to things or ideas
We normally use this, that, these and those as pronouns to refer to things or ideas:
Put the butter, chocolate and sugar in a saucepan. Heat this over a low flame until it melts.
We’re going to eat first and then go to the film. Are you happy with that? (Are you happy with the idea of eating first, then going to the film?)
[talking about the TV]
Can you turn that off if you’re not watching it?
[talking about shoes]
What colour are those? Black or dark blue. I can’t see.
Referring to people
We can use this and that as pronouns to refer to people when we want to identify ourselves or others, or to ask the identity of other speakers:
Linda, this is my mother, Anne.
Is that your brother over there?
We often do this in telephone calls and in answer-phone messages:
Hello, is that Ken Orm? This is Jane Bromham here.
This and these, that and those: uses
Physical closeness and distance
We use this and these most commonly to point to things and people that are close to the speaker or writer, or things that are happening now:
Shall I use this knife here?
[pointing to something]
Is this what you mean?
I’ll post these letters on my way home.
[pointing to a pile of books]
Do these belong to the Bradshaws?
We use that and those most commonly to point to things and people which are not easy to identify in a situation. They are often more distant from the speaker, and sometimes closer to the listener:
What’s in that bottle over there?
Could you blow out those candles near you?
Sometimes they are not visible to either the speaker or listener:
Budapest! That’s my favourite place!
We sometimes use this, these, that, those to identify emotional distance. We use this and these to refer to things that we feel positive about, that we are happy to be associated with, or we approve of:
I love these new woollen mobile phone covers that you can get.
We use that and those to create distance:
What are you going to say to that sister of yours?
[talking about a restaurant]
I didn’t like the decoration. It had those awful paintings.
Shared knowledge and new information
We sometimes use that instead of the to refer the listener to shared knowledge, often when we are telling a story or explaining something:
You know that old shop on the corner? Well, they’re going to turn it into a restaurant.
We sometimes use this instead of a/an to refer to something important or recent, or to introduce a new person or thing in a story:
This guy knocked on the door and asked if I wanted new windows.
Then suddenly she pulled out this big pile of papers from her briefcase and threw them on the table.
Substitution with that, those
In formal contexts, we can use that and those as substitutes meaning ‘the one(s)’:
The most important information is that given at the beginning of the manual. (that substitutes for the information)
The methods employed are those familiar to researchers. (more formal than The methods employed are the ones familiar to researchers.)
In formal contexts, especially in academic style, we use that of/those of instead of the one of/the ones of or the … one/the … ones. This is preferred to the possessive X’s one/X’s ones:
The proton has a similar mass to that of a neutron. (preferred to The proton has a similar mass to the neutron’s.)
The emotions in the poems are those of loss and grief.
The emotions in the poem are loss and grief ones.
We normally only use that as a substitute for a thing, not for a person or animal:
Have you met Mr Kelly?B:
The one who works at the town hall, or his brother?A:
The one at the town hall.
That who works at the town hall.
We can use those as a substitute for persons, animals or things:
There are sports facilities for guests. Those interested in golf can enjoy our eighteen-hole course.
(“This, that, these, those” aus English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press.)
- Adjectives and adverbs
Easily confused words
- Above or over?
- Across, over or through?
- Advice or advise?
- Affect or effect?
- All or every?
- All or whole?
- Allow, permit or let?
- Almost or nearly?
- Alone, lonely, or lonesome?
- Along or alongside?
- Already, still or yet?
- Also, as well or too?
- Alternate(ly), alternative(ly)
- Although or though?
- Altogether or all together?
- Amount of, number of or quantity of?
- Any more or anymore?
- Anyone, anybody or anything?
- Apart from or except for?
- Arise or rise?
- Around or round?
- Arouse or rouse?
- As or like?
- As, because or since?
- As, when or while?
- Been or gone?
- Begin or start?
- Beside or besides?
- Between or among?
- Born or borne?
- Bring, take and fetch
- Can, could or may?
- Classic or classical?
- Come or go?
- Consider or regard?
- Consist, comprise or compose?
- Content or contents?
- Different from, different to or different than?
- Do or make?
- Down, downwards or downward?
- During or for?
- Each or every?
- East or eastern; north or northern?
- Economic or economical?
- Efficient or effective?
- Elder, eldest or older, oldest?
- End or finish?
- Especially or specially?
- Every one or everyone?
- Except or except for?
- Expect, hope or wait?
- Experience or experiment?
- Fall or fall down?
- Far or a long way?
- Farther, farthest or further, furthest?
- Fast, quick or quickly?
- Fell or felt?
- Female or feminine; male or masculine?
- Finally, at last, lastly or in the end?
- First, firstly or at first?
- Fit or suit?
- Following or the following?
- For or since?
- Forget or leave?
- Full or filled?
- Fun or funny?
- Get or go?
- Grateful or thankful?
- Hear or listen (to)?
- High or tall?
- Historic or historical?
- House or home?
- How is …? or What is … like?
- If or when?
- If or whether?
- Ill or sick?
- Imply or infer?
- In the way or on the way?
- It’s or its?
- Late or lately?
- Lay or lie?
- Lend or borrow?
- Less or fewer?
- Look at, see or watch?
- Low or short?
- Man, mankind or people?
- Maybe or may be?
- Maybe or perhaps?
- Nearest or next?
- Never or not … ever?
- Nice or sympathetic?
- No doubt or without doubt?
- No or not?
- Nowadays, these days or today?
- Open or opened?
- Opportunity or possibility?
- Opposite or in front of?
- Other, others, the other or another?
- Out or out of?
- Permit or permission?
- Person, persons or people?
- Pick or pick up?
- Play or game?
- Politics, political, politician or policy?
- Price or prize?
- Principal or principle?
- Quiet or quite?
- Raise or rise?
- Remember or remind?
- Right or rightly?
- Rob or steal?
- Say or tell?
- So that or in order that?
- Sometimes or sometime?
- Sound or noise?
- Speak or talk?
- Such or so?
- There, their or they’re?
- Towards or toward?
- Wait or wait for?
- Wake, wake up or awaken?
- Worth or worthwhile?
Nouns, pronouns and determiners
- about nouns
- common nouns
- noun phrases
- question words
- uncountable nouns
Prepositions and particles
- Among and amongst
- At, in and to (movement)
- At, on and in (place)
- At, on and in (time)
- Beneath: meaning and use
- By + myself etc.
- For + -ing
- In front of
- In spite of and despite
- In, into
- Near and near to
- On, onto
- Prepositional phrases
- Words, sentences and clauses
- Using English
Das Wort des Tages
someone who stands on the street and asks people who are walking past to give money regularly to a charity