A demonstrative pronoun is a pronoun mostly used to point to something based on its distance from the speaker. In English, these pronouns have four forms.
What Are Demonstrative Pronouns?
Demonstrative Pronouns: Categorization
Demonstrative pronouns are categorized based on two factors:
- Number: Which can be either singular or plural
- Distance: Which can be either near or far
Uses of Demonstrative Pronouns
In general, demonstrative pronouns are used to assist you in showing something.
1. To Show Reachability
The most important use of demonstrative pronouns is to show reachability. By using 'this' or 'that' you can show, if what you are speaking about is within your reach or not. Take a look at these examples:
In this example, by using 'this' you show that the apple is in your hand or within reach.
In this example, you are speaking about the house from a distance.
2. To Distinguish Something by Difference in Distance
By using two different pronouns, the speaker can differentiate between two things by distance; the one which is near (or nearer) is referred to as 'this' (or 'these') and the one that is far (in comparison) is referred to as 'that' (or 'those'). Here reachability may not be the case.
Look at the following examples:
My sister and I share a room;
In this example, 'my bed' is nearer than 'my sister's bed'. None of them may be in reach, but one of them is nearer than the other.
In this example, again 'my friends' are nearer than 'my colleagues.'
3. To Show Distance in Time
Demonstrative pronouns do not necessarily show physical distance. You can use them to refer to distance in time as well. In this case, the present time is seen as near and the past or future is seen as distant. There are three different ways to use demonstrative pronouns to talk about time:
1. Using near pronouns to talk about present time (now) or something that is happening now:
In this example, 'this' refers to the present time.
2. Using far pronouns to talk about a situation or condition in the past or future:
In this example, 'that,' refers to a past time.
Here, in this example, 'that' refers to a future time.
3. Using plural near or far pronouns to talk about the general condition of life in the present, past or future:
In this example, 'these' refers to general present conditions.
Here, 'those' refers to general past conditions.
4. To Talk about People
You can use demonstrative pronouns to introduce yourself on the phone:
Here, the person is introducing himself by using the term 'this.'
As you can see, distance and time are not indicated anymore when you use demonstrative pronouns for people.
Avoid Using Demonstratives in Two Consecutive Sentences
When you use a demonstrative pronoun to refer to something for the first time in a sentence, you need to remember that if you want to refer to the same thing again, you have to use it instead of the demonstrative pronoun. The same rule applies to 'these' and 'those,' you just need to use 'they.' Look at the example below:
As you can see, we used 'it' for a singular item, after being mentioned for the first time.
As you can see, we used 'they' for a plural item, after being mentioned for the first time.
Demonstratives as Subjects and Objects
Demonstrative pronouns can become the subject or the object of a sentence. You should know that being the subject or object does not change the meaning of these pronouns. Let's see some examples:
Here, demonstrative pronoun 'this' is the 'subject' of the sentence.
I cant read
Here, demonstrative pronoun 'this' is the object of the sentence. You can easily recognize the object by the position of the demonstrative pronoun. whenever it is after a main verb it is an object.
We are not going to sell
Here 'those' is the object of the sentence. Remember, there is no noun after the demonstrative pronoun.
Pronouns vs. Determiners
We talked about demonstrative pronouns, now let's talk about demonstrative determiners. You remember that demonstrative pronouns can replace nouns; demonstrative determiners on the other hand, are placed before a noun.
Demonstrative pronouns and demonstrative determiners look just the same. This means we have this, that, these, and those as determiners as well. However, as a pronoun, they can become the subject or the object of a sentence themselves, yet as a determiner, they
In this example, 'that book' is the subject of the sentence.
In the example above, 'those restaurants' is the subject of the sentence.
I'll have to get another job if I want to pay all
Remember, demonstrative determiners must agree on the number with the verb and the noun being used after them.
book is interesting.)
Differences Between Demonstrative Adverbs, Pronouns, and Determiners
Since you followed the article; you know all about demonstrative determiners and pronouns. But What are demonstrative adverbs?
What Are Demonstrative Adverbs?
Two out of the four demonstrative pronouns (or determiners) are also used as demonstrative adverbs. They are:
'That' as a Demonstrative Adverb
- The word 'that' can act as an adverb (also called intensifier) that modifies an adjective or another adverb.
- We use "that + adjective" usually in negative sentences.
- 'That' in this usage has an additional stress in spoken language.
John's brother was not
This new collection of winter garments are not
'This' as a Demonstrative Adverb
- The word 'this' can act as an adverb (also called intensifier) that modifies an adjective or another adverb.
- It is usually used in spoken English with a hand gesture to say how big, how much, etc. something is.
- We use "this + adjective/adverb" usually in negatives and questions.
- 'This' in this usage has an additional stress in spoken language.
The cat was
I have never thought that the building might be
Demonstrating means showing, indicating, and pointing to something; that is exactly what demonstrative pronouns do.
- To show reachability
- To distinguish something by difference in distance
- To show distance in time
- To talk about people
|How They Are Placed in a Sentence|
|Demonstrative Pronouns||instead of a noun in the place of subject or object|
|Demonstrative Determiners||before a noun|