Grammar This/That/These/Those: Demonstrative Adjectives and Pronouns |
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

This/That/These/Those: Demonstrative Adjectives and Pronouns

The demonstrative adjectives this/that/these/those, which may also be pronouns, tell us where an object is located and how many objects there are.

This and that are used to point to one object. This points to something nearby, while that points to something “over there.”
Examples: This dog is mine.
This is mine.
That dog is hers.
That is hers.
These and those refer to more than one object. These points to things nearby, while those points to things “over there.”
Examples: These babies have been smiling for a while.
These are mine.
Those babies in the nursery have been crying for hours.
Those are yours.

If the article or the existing discussions do not address a thought or question you have on the subject, please use the "Comment" box at the bottom of this page.

85 responses to “This/That/These/Those: Demonstrative Adjectives and Pronouns”

  1. Dorota Naumienko says:

    Is it possible to abbreviate the demonstrative adjective ,,those” with a verb ,,are” like that:
    Those’re my…

    Could you send me an explanation?

    • Demonstrative adjectives are not typically used to form a contraction in English. The Chicago Manual of Style’s Rule 5.103 says, “Most types of writing benefit from the use of contractions. If used thoughtfully, contractions in prose sound natural and relaxed and make reading more enjoyable. Be-verbs and most of the auxiliary verbs are contracted when followed by not: are–aren’t; was–wasn’t; cannot–can’t; could not–couldn’t; do not–don’t; and so on. A few, such as ought not–oughtn’t, look or sound awkward and are best avoided. Pronouns can be contracted with auxiliaries, forms of have, and some be-verbs. Think before using one of the less common contractions, which often don’t work well in prose, except perhaps in dialogue or quotations. Some examples are I’d’ve (I would have), she’d’ve (she would have) it’d (it would), should’ve (should have), there’re (there are), who’re (who are), and would’ve (would have). Also, some contracted forms can have more than one meaning. For instance, there’s may be there is or there has, and I’d may be I had or I would. The particular meaning may not always be clear from the context.” The AP Stylebook considers contractions informal and advises against using them excessively. If you are unsure of a contraction, check to see if it is listed in the dictionary.

  2. Al says:

    Indefinite articles is used before singular countable noun.


    Is it possible to use Indefinite articles (a,an) before an adjective with Plural or Uncountable noun ?

  3. rose says:

    do this and that need a noun after them all the time? even when refering to an object in the sentence before? ie;

    • It is possible to have a grammatically correct sentence in which this or that does not have a noun after it if the noun is implied. Examples:

      Do you expect me to clean the floor with this?
      I am not sure I can bake a cake in that.

  4. dolly jha says:

    Demonstrative Adjectives:I found them well explained
    However I would like to know the difference between demonstrative adjectives and demonstrative pronouns.

    • Demonstrative adjectives always describe a noun. Demonstrative pronouns can stand alone. Examples of demonstrative adjectives:

      That dog is mean.
      This restaurant is good.
      These shoes are the most comfortable.
      Those cups are dirty.

      Examples of demonstrative pronouns:

      That was really funny.
      This is way too expensive.
      These are just perfect!
      I want a pair of those.

  5. jenny says:

    thank you very much!

  6. De says:

    I would like to know the usage of “the” and “this” while explaining e.g. a parameter in help texts.

    Which one is correct?
    This parameter or The parameter?

    • The word the is a definite article. It is used to indicate a person, thing, or idea that is clearly understood from the situation or that is common in daily life. The word this is used to indicate a person, thing, or idea that has just been mentioned or is being shown to you. We would need to know the specific sentence as well as the previous sentences in order to offer a recommendation regarding word usage.

  7. Pamela Cohen says:

    Trying to work out, in Shelley’s poem, Ozymandius

    the hand ‘that mock’d’…’ the heart that fed’

    grammatical function of ‘that’

    comes before a verb and after a noun each time.Adverb? Pronoun?

  8. leah says:

    In diagramming a sentence: Those very dark colors fade too quickly in the sun. Can those be the subject? or is it Colors? Is the object Sun?

  9. Julaina Kleist says:

    If someone writes, I believe this. Is the usage correct? It seems to me this is used as a demonstrative adjective and would need a noun after it?

    • The word this is used as a pronoun in your sentence, however, the sentence is slightly unclear as written. It could be rewritten the following ways:
      If someone writes, I believe it to be true.
      If someone puts it in writing, I believe it to be true.
      If it is in writing, I believe it.

  10. Pond says:

    I wonder if it is possible that the demonstrative adjectives can be followed by other adjectives? For instance, I think I used to hear people saying ‘The homework is not THAT hard.’ If so, is it grammatically correct or just used in colloquial speech, and what about its meaning?

  11. durga says:

    Can you add more demonstratives please well list me all demonstratives in one go …….. please . need to do my english project

    • There are no more demonstrative adjectives. Aside from answering specific grammar questions, we regret that we cannot offer assistance with projects or assignments.

  12. Malak says:

    Thank you so much but I want more examples

  13. Millian says:

    What are the different types of pronouns except this, that, those, these

    • According to the Chicago Manual of Style, there are six classes of pronouns:
      personal: I, you, he, she, it, we, and they
      demonstrative: that, this
      interrogative: what, which, and who
      relative: that, what, which, and who
      indefinite: for example, another, any, each, either, and none
      adjective: for example, any, each, that, this, what, and which

  14. Salma says:

    In the sentence
    Those who do….
    Those is what?

  15. Carrie Wihbey says:

    Wondering how this is acting in the following sentence:

    We waited for this child’s arrival.

    It seems to be describing the child and not the arrival. But can this be used as an adverb?

    • The word this is a demonstrative adjective in your example. It does describe the child. The word this can be used as an adverb.
      Example: We had no idea we would have to wait this long.

  16. Kalprajsinh Chudasama says:

    Which type of demonstrative adjective need to be used before uncountable noun?
    (1) ____ some oil and ____ some sugar.

  17. Carroll Finlay says:

    In the following sentence, is “these” or “those” the appropriate pronoun?

    We love Miami, NY and San Diego not only because they are exciting places to live, but also because we have family in these/those cities.

    • There is not always a clear choice between which of these two words to use. Usually, you would select those for things which are not physically nearby. However, these could be the better choice for things that are symbolically or emotionally close. In the case of your sentence, it’s your choice.

  18. Syke says:

    What is the official rule regarding the use of “these ones” or “those ones”?

  19. Pooja says:

    Is ‘this’ in this sentence is demonstative car is this.

    • Your sentence is awkward or incomplete. You could write “My car is this color,” “My car is this model,” or “This is my car.” Then the word this would be a demonstrative adjective.

  20. Grace Ilagan says:

    Which is correct: I have not taken “this” or “these” much medicine.

  21. Emily Brown says:

    We are considering using the following title and tagline for our organization: “Sally’s House … helping those harmed by crime.” Is this correctly using the word “those”? And is “those” being used as a demonstrative adjective with people being implied, or as a demonstrative pronoun?

  22. Jo says:

    I couldn’t convince my partner that this sentence construction is incorrect.
    “The ultimate goal is to (do something). This by validating (something else).
    She used “this” in the second sentence to refer to the ultimate goal.
    I find such way of using “this” is incomplete.
    Is it correct to start a sentence with “This by”?

  23. Dragunov says:

    I have a confusion on the subject verb agreement in using this and that whenever they are followed by a verb.

    For instance, let this serves/serve as a reminder again to everyone.

    Another is, that seems/seem to be the correct answer.

  24. Andrea says:

    I am not sure what word class “following” is in this sentence. “I am still in recovery following that.”

    Can you please help.

  25. Jess says:

    is the grammar correct, this mouth-watering mango cake and ice cream brings?

    • The word this is used correctly; however, what you have written is not a complete sentence. Here is an example of a complete sentence:
      This mouth-watering mango cake and ice cream brings me joy.

  26. Rol says:

    A student is writing a research paper and states the following:

    I selected a multiple case study design. A case study design is appropriate for researchers to collect data from persons or groups (Yin, 2014).

    After arguing the benefits of a case study design for her study over alternative designs, which is the correct sentence latter in the paragraph?

    1. A multiple case study design is the most suitable for this study.
    2. The multiple case study design is the most suitable for the study.

  27. Eduardo Rios says:

    Can “this” be used at the beginning of a sentence, as a subject pronoun, not followed by a noun?
    It is a usual practice in scientific text. “Franklin has argued that storms are self-sustaining. This cannot be true because…”. But it is frowned upon by some journals. Right or wrong?

    • Yes, a sentence can begin with a demonstrative pronoun. Examples above include the following:
      This is mine.
      That is hers.
      These are mine.
      Those are yours.

      None of the style manuals we consulted have any rules prohibiting starting a sentence with a demonstrative pronoun. Scientific journals might have their own sets of rules or perhaps they are wary of overuse of such a construction, especially in cases where the meaning of what “this” refers to is not clear.

  28. kyuho sim says:

    is it possible to use Quantitative adjective right after Demonstrative adjective ?
    for example,
    These (lots of or too many or quite a few) complaints about poor service are really becoming problematic to handle.

    • The phrases lots of, too many, and quite a few are not grammatically correct after the word these in your example sentence. The adjectives many, numerous, or excessive are good alternatives. You could tighten the sentence further by writing “These (many, numerous, or excessive) complaints about poor service are becoming problematic.”

  29. Jimmy C Gore says:

    Is it correct that demonstrative adjectives are catergorized as articles/determiners?

    • Demonstrative adjectives are types of determiners. Articles (a, an, the) are also types of determiners. (In technical terms, articles and demonstrative adjectives both fall under the category of limiting adjectives, which are also referred to as noun markers or determiners because they indicate a noun is to follow.)

  30. Matt says:

    Is this a proper sentence?

    This the daily accountability.

  31. Dee says:

    Can a possessive pronoun also be an adjective within the same sentence?

    “That blue car is mine.”

    Even though its main function is a possessive pronoun, “mine” still describes the car as an adjective. Or does an adjective only and always come before the noun it describes?

    • The word my is an adjective; however, mine is a pronoun (not an adjective) meaning “that which belongs to me.” An adjective can come before or after the noun it describes.

  32. Ryan says:

    How can I change “child” a noun to limiting adjective?

    • By definition, a limiting adjective indicates that a noun is to follow (e.g., the articles a, an, and the). A limiting adjective is also referred to as a “noun marker,” which likewise signals the approach of a noun. We can’t think of any examples in which “child” as an adjective would indicate a noun is coming next. Most instances including “child” as a descriptor would be noun phrases, such as “child actor” and “child psychology.”

  33. sunny says:

    He said that I love you. Does this function as a demonstrative pronoun?

  34. Dona says:

    This is how I love you.

    How is the word this used in the sentence?

  35. Mandal says:

    He is rich and smart. This makes him a lucky guy.
    He is rich and smart. These make him a lucky guy.

    • Your sentence implies “This fact makes him a lucky guy.” Technically, “This” is a demonstrative pronoun whose antecedent is the entire preceding sentence and is the correct choice.

  36. Kelvin says:

    Use the following words: this, that, these and those as pronouns and adjectives in sentences.

  37. Leandro says:

    Please, I have a question.
    I would like to know if in magazine titles we should write demonstrative pronouns (e.g. “this”) with a capital letter?
    Is it correct to write “Hack This Zine”, vol. 11 (2010), pp. 48-51?
    Is “Hack this Zine” or “Hack This Zine” correct as a magazine title?

  38. Laura says:

    I think the following sentences sound “weird” in regards to the use of “this” – however, English is not my first language and the text was professionally translated so maybe I’m wrong. Can you help me? Can “this” be used like this and refer back to the object mentioned in the first half of the sentence? Or should one go with “…and provide *it* to all employees…”

    “They receive the written report within two weeks of the meeting and provide this to all employees that took part in the meeting.”

  39. Anna says:

    How can I diagram this sentence?
    This is our first visit; we have never been to Colombia before.

    • The practice of diagramming sentences can be a useful tool but is rarely done in the United States anymore. You may be able to find instruction on diagramming on the internet or from an English grammar book.

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