They vs. These or Those

'These' and 'Those' are called plural demonstratives. We use them as determiners and pronouns. But are they interchangeable with the plural pronoun 'they'?

"They" vs. "These" or "Those" in the English Grammar

What are their main differences?

'These' and 'those' are called demonstratives. They can either be determiners or pronouns.
We use 'these' and 'those' to talk about things based on their position and distance. If the things are close to us, we use 'these'; and when they are far away from us, we use 'those'.

'These' and 'Those' as Determiners

If we use 'these' and 'those' with plural nouns, they are determiners.

These flowers smell nice.

I want those shoes, not these ones.

'These' and 'Those' as Pronouns

If we use 'these' and 'those' alone without them being followed by plural nouns, they are pronouns.

I've made my decision. Let's buy these!

Those are both good choices. But which ones do you choose?

Can 'They' Be Used as a Demonstrative, Too?

'They' can be used to demonstrate plural nouns at any distance or position. It can be a substitute for both 'these' and 'those'.
'They' can be the safest choice, because the distance is not relevant.

'What are these?' 'They' are my clothes.

Here, you can also say 'these are my clothes'.

'These' and 'those' alone (as pronouns) cannot refer to people unless maybe when you want to be offensive or sarcastic. They are always used to refer to things.

I want these. These shoes are better than the last ones.

These people are so nice and friendly.

This sentence is ok, because we used a noun after 'these'.

These are so nice and friendly.

'These' alone cannot be used to refer to people.

They are so nice and friendly.

They can both refer to a group of people and animals and things.

They're beautiful. How much are they?

What Is Another Difference between 'These' and 'Those' with 'They'?

Another difference between 'these' and 'those' with 'they' is that 'these/those' can be both subjects and objects in a sentence. But 'they' can only be the subject of a sentence.

I found these in the library. (NOT I found they in the library.)

Here, 'these' is the object of our sentence and we cannot replace it with 'they'.

How much are those apples? → How much are they?


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