What are demonstrative pronouns? (this, that, those…)

Demonstrative pronouns in English (lesson with examples)




Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.


A demonstrative pronoun is used to replace a particular thing (singular or plural), which has already been mentioned before, or which can be designated by the context.

  • this / that 
  • these / those 

these is the plural of this, those is the plural of that:

  • this dog / these dogs
  • that cat / those cats

There is no gender difference:

  • this boy and this girl
  • those men and those women


This, that, these and those can be used as determinants or pronouns:

  • Take this pen
  • Take this.
  • Give me that book.
  • Give me that.

What is the difference between THIS and THAT?

We choose between this and that to show the degree of distance from the person speaking. As a general rule, this/these marks proximity to the enunciator, that/those marks distance:


THIS or THESE is used to talk about a person, thing or place that is close to the person speaking:

  • This is my brother
  • These are my shoes.
  • Is this your pen?

THAT or THOSE is used to talk about a person, thing or place that is further away from the person speaking:

  • I can see that from here.
  • That man over there is my boss.
  • Those men are detectives.


THIS refers to the future or the present, THAT to the past (to talk about something that is not present):

  • On that day, she was really tired, but she’s feeling better this week.
  • That movie we watched last night was awesome.


  • That dog is dangerous!
  • I hate this tee-shirt, but I love those shoes!


1 – THIS can be used to announce something, and THAT to refer to the past:

  • This is what she told me: “You can do it!”
  • “You can do it!”: that‘s what she told me.

2 – To avoid a repetition: we can forward this/that by one, and these/those by ones :

  • Which photo do you prefer? This one or that one? 
  • Which fruits can you eat ? These ones or those ones?

3 – To compare:

  • I don’t like those trousers. These are a bit better.
  • This tee-shirt is nice; that one is ugly.

4 – This, these, that, that, those can be pronouns and replace a name or a sentence:

  • I think this is awesome!  (This replace something we know.)

5 – To contact us by phone:

  • Hello, this is Jane speaking. Who is this?

6 – This and these can refer to situations that are happening:

  • Listen to this song. (NOT: Listen to that song.)

7 – That and those can refer to experiences that have just ended:

  • Who said that?
  • Who did that?

8 – We use THAT in expressions like that’s it and that’s that

  • That’s it, I’m going home.
  • I broke up with Claire, and that’s that.

9 – Other uses:

  • The best movie of the festival was that made by Spielberg.
  • We are organizing a trip to London. Those interested should speak with Sam.



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