Demonstrative Pronouns

demonstrate (verb): to show; to indicate; to point to

A demonstrative pronoun represents a thing or things:

  • near in distance or time (this, these)
  • far in distance or time (that, those)
  near • far ⇒
singular 📗 this that
plural 📗📗📗 these those

Here are some examples with demonstrative pronouns, followed by an illustration:

  • This tastes good.
  • Have you seen this?
  • These are bad times.
  • Do you like these?

  • That is beautiful.
  • Look at that!
  • Those were the days!
  • Can you see those?

  • This is heavier than that.
  • These are bigger than those.

this that these those

Do not confuse demonstrative pronouns with demonstrative adjectives. They are identical, but a demonstrative pronoun stands alone, while a demonstrative adjective qualifies a noun.
  • That smells. (demonstrative pronoun)
  • That book is good. (demonstrative adjective + noun)

Normally we use demonstrative pronouns for things only. But we can use them for people when the person is identified. Look at these examples:

  • This is Josef speaking. Is that Mary?
  • That sounds like John.

Mini Quiz

Test your understanding with this quick quiz.

1. To choose the correct demonstrative pronoun (this, that, these or those), we need to know if the noun being replaced is singular or plural and

common or proper
near or far
subject or object
a) common or proper b) near or far c) subject or object

2. Complete with the correct demonstrative pronoun: "Your cookies are much better than ______ over there."

a) that b) these c) those

3. Complete with the correct demonstrative pronoun: "Who was ______ on the phone?"

a) that b) this c) those

Your score is:

Correct answers: