This vs. These in English Grammar

What Is the Difference between 'This' and 'These'?

'This' and 'these' are both demonstratives. They point to a specific noun in a sentence. Here we will briefly look at their similarities and differences.

This vs. These

Similarities

'This' and 'these' are called demonstratives. It means they indicate and point to a person or object which is close to us. This 'closeness' can be physical and temporal, i.e. it can be related to the physical position of the thing or object or it can refer to the nearness in time.

Differences

  1. 'This' is used with singular and uncountable nouns
  2. 'These' is used with plural nouns

This book is my favorite .

You're too old to play with these dolls .

Uncountable Nouns: This or These?

Uncountable nouns such as water, tea, butter, milk, air, rice, anger, money, information, etc. have no plural form. So we must use 'this' for indicating them.

Take this money and just go .

This milk is expired . It tastes sour .

You must somehow manage to control this anger .

Demonstrative Pronouns: Introducing or Identifying

'This' and 'these' are also used for introducing someone to another or identifying someone or yourself, especially on the phone or at the door. Look at these examples:

Alice , these are my parents , Shelly and Mike .

Hello , this is Kim speaking .

Differentiating between Things

If we want to talk about the 'proximity' of things, we can differentiate between things/persons near to us as opposed to things/persons far from us by using 'this/these vs. that/those'. 'This /these' refers to something 'here', while 'that/those' points to something 'there.'

This café has far better coffee than that across the street .

I like these blue pants . Those gray ones were a bit short .

Demonstrative Pronoun or Determiner?

As you might have noticed from the examples, 'this' and 'these' can both be determiners and pronouns. When they are followed by a noun or a noun phrase, they're called 'demonstrative determiners'. On the other hand, if they appear alone, they are called 'demonstrative pronouns' because they replace a noun phrase.

Here take this . This helps .

These are the best of our winter collection .

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