These/those are the plural forms of this/that. They're called demonstratives. We use them to identify specific persons or things close to or far from us.

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

Similarities

'These' and 'those' are plural forms of 'this' and 'that'. They are called demonstratives. Demonstratives can either be demonstrative determiners or demonstrative pronouns.

As Determiners

As determiners 'these' and 'those' are used to point to specific persons or things near to us or far from us. This distance or closeness, can either be physical or temporal.

Difference

  • These is used to refer to persons and things close at hand
  • Those is used to refer to persons and things far from us

These boots are ideal for our trip.

Look at those monkeys up on that tree!

As Pronouns

If demonstratives appear alone and not be followed by a plural noun, they are called demonstrative pronouns.

These are some of the best items of our summer collection.

I like those. Those are more to my taste.

'These' and 'Those' Referring to People?

'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.

Those are a bunch of losers!

Can you believe these?

When Can 'These' and 'Those' Refer to People?

'These' can be used for introducing people to another or identifying two or more people or yourselves, especially on the phone or at the door. Look at the example:

Mom, these are my friends, Alex, Jaxon and Mickey.

'Those' can also be used for introducing people. Its difference with using 'these' is that, when we use 'those', the people we want to introduce are not standing near us. Look at the example:

See those kids over there? Those are my sons, Alan and Charlie.

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