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.

"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 Do We Use Them


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.


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.


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.


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.

Can you two complete that?

Here, 'that' is the object of the sentence

What have I done to deserve this?

Demonstrative Pronouns and Verbs

These demonstrative pronouns can be used with all verbs. The singular pronouns (this and that) are used with singular verbs, while the plural pronouns (these and those) are used with plural verbs.

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.


Note that when demonstrative pronouns are followed by a noun, they function as determiners and are no longer considered pronouns. In such cases, the determiner agrees in number with the noun it modifies. 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.


Loading recaptcha

You might also like

Personal Pronouns

A personal pronoun is a word that substitutes a name to avoid repetition. Personal pronouns show us the grammatical person and gender of the name they refer to.

Subject Pronouns

Pronouns that are used in the position of a subject in sentences are called subject pronouns. In this article, you find all your answers about subject pronouns.

Object Pronouns

Pronouns that can take the place of an object are called object pronouns. In this article, you will get to know different kinds of object pronouns.

Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive Pronouns are used to show that the subject and object of a sentence are exactly the same person or thing or there is a direct connection between them.

Emphatic Pronouns

'Emphatic pronouns' are used to refer to a noun or a pronoun mentioned earlier. So they give more detailed information.

Interrogative Pronouns

There are five interrogative pronouns in English. Each is used to ask a specific question. In this lesson, we will learn more about these pronouns.
Download LanGeek app