Demonstrative Determiners

Demonstrative determiners in English are this, these, that and those. They are used to identify the person or thing that is being referred to.

"Demonstrative Determiners" in English Grammar

What Are Demonstrative Determiners?

Demonstrative determiner is a type of determiner that is used to point to a specific noun or noun phrase and specify its number and distance. They help to identify the noun that is being referred to in a sentence.

English Demonstrative Determiners

There are four demonstrative determiners in English:

A demonstrative determiner can tell us about the location of something relative to our position; they show us how near or far something is. Near and far can refer to distance or time.

Singular Plural
near to us (time-wise/distance-wise) this these
far from us (time-wise/distance-wise) that those

This chair is empty. You can sit here.

That man over there is my teacher.

These days I'm trying to exercise more.

How much are those apples at the back?

Demonstrative Determiners vs. Demonstrative Pronouns

'This,' 'that,' 'these' and 'those' can act as both demonstrative determiners and demonstrative pronouns. The difference between them is:

  • A demonstrative determiner always comes with a noun.
  • A demonstrative pronoun always comes alone and is not accompanied by a noun.

using 'those' as a demonstrative determiner

Compare the following examples:

That is my son over there, Sam.

'That' as a demonstrative pronoun

That boy over there is my son Sam.

'That' as a demonstrative determiner

Someone left their shoes. Whose are these?

'These' as a demonstrative pronoun

Whose are these shoes?

'These' as a demonstrative determiner

This is a very interesting idea.

'This' as a demonstrative pronoun

This idea is very interesting.

'This' as a demonstrative determiner

I want those glasses. Those are gorgeous.

Here, the first 'those' is a determiner because it is followed by a noun. However, the second 'those' is a pronoun because it stands alone.

Review

Demonstrative determiners are such as demonstrative pronouns, the only difference between these two is that 'determiners' must be followed by nouns. Demonstrative determiners are picked based on their number and distance.

Number Distance Example
This singular close This book shares different feelings of mothers.
That singular far That man standing over there is the manager of the school.
These plural close These paper clips help you divide the book's chapters.
Those plural far I don't know those people, but they seem friendly.

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