What Are Demonstratives?
Demonstratives (derived from the Latin word 'demonstrativus' meaning to point out) indicate the distance of an object, event, or person in space or time in relation to the speaker.
This and these refer to something(s) or someone(s) near the speaker. 'This' refers to one person or thing and 'these' refers to more than one. These are called near or proximal demonstratives:
- space proximity
- time proximity
There will be a party later
We all seem to be in a hurry
- grammatical proximity (referring to something close in the sentence)
My wife says we should move out.
That and those refer to something(s) or someone(s) far from the speaker. 'That' refers to one person or thing and 'those' refers to more than one. They are also called far or distal demonstratives.
- space distance
Can you see
- time distance
I will never forget
- grammatical distance (referring to something close in the sentence)
Based on their grammatical functions, demonstratives can be divided into three groups:
Demonstrative determiners can also come before a number. For example:
When 'this,' 'that,' 'these' and 'those' stand alone, they are demonstrative pronouns.
Demonstratives: with Possessives
When we want to use possessives, we should first determine whether we are talking about attribution or possession:
- When talking about attribution, we can only use 'that of' or 'those of':
Her own experience was different from
Her fame was bigger than
- Normally, we cannot use 'that of' or 'those of' to talk about possession, except in formal context:
My dogs are happy,
John are not.
It's better to say 'My dogs are happy, John's are not.'
Diana's grades were all good, but
This is a formal sentence. This usage is not very common in spoken English.
These demonstratives were used in Shakespearean English and in older poetry. All three refer to something distant but within sight:
the fresh blooms on
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