Demonstrative Pronouns for intermediate learners

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.

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"Demonstrative Pronouns" in English Grammar

What Are Demonstrative Pronouns?

When we want to point out a specific person or thing, we use demonstrative pronouns. We have four demonstrative pronouns in English as listed below:

Close Far
Singular This That
Plural These Those

When to We Use Them

This

When we want to point out a single object or a person close to us, we use 'this'. Look at the examples below:

This is my hat on the floor.

This is your wallet.

Here, the sentence is referring to an object near the speaker.

That

When we want to talk about an object or a person that is far away from us, we use 'that'. Look at the examples below:

That is my mom standing over there.

That is my pencil.

These

When we want to refer to a group of things or people that are close to us, we use 'these'. Carefully study the following examples:

These books are Martha's.

Don't touch these CD's! They're mine.

Those

When we want to refer to a group of people or things that are far away from us, we use 'those'. Look at the examples below:

Those are my candles.

Those clouds are beautiful.

How They Function in Sentences

These demonstrative pronouns can be used as both subjects and objects in sentences. They can replace a subject noun or an object noun. Carefully study the examples below:

This is an apple.

Those are dirty.

Here, the demonstrative pronoun is used as the subject and has come at the beginning of the sentence.

These demonstrative pronouns can also be used as objects in sentences. Look at the following examples:

Can you two complete that?

What have I done to deserve this?

Demonstrative Pronouns and Verbs

These demonstrative pronouns can be used with all verbs. The two singular ones are used with the singular form of the verb and the two plural ones are used with the plural form of the verb. Pay attention to the following examples:

This is my one and only friend.

Here, the sentence is about one person so the singular form of the 'to be' verb is used.

Those are my books over there.

As you can see, this sentence is about a group of things so the plural form of the 'to be' verb is used.

We can also turn these structures into questions and negative forms. Look at the examples below:

Those are not my students.

This isn't my tutor.

Are these our video clips?

Is that a cat?

As you can see, by changing the places of the subject and verb we can make questions using demonstrative pronouns.

Warning!

Remember that when these demonstrative pronouns are followed by a noun, they are no longer called demonstrative pronouns. They will be determiners. Compare the examples below:

This cat isn't mine.

As you can see, 'this' is followed by a noun which makes it a determiner.

That is my cat.

Here, 'that' is the subject and is functioning as a demonstrative pronoun.

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