Learn English | A new lesson every week
Book your course now


Average: 4.7 (21 votes)

Common uses of demonstratives.
In English the demonstratives; this, that, these and those are used to indicate something.

This and These
This (singular) and these (plural) are used to indicate something close to the speaker. That (singular) and those (plural) are used to indicate something far away from the speaker.
I really like this dress and it goes with these shoes.
That is a beautiful building especially with those wonderful trees on either side.

This and these can be also be used to refer to periods of time like now, today or soon.
I’m going to town this afternoon.
I seem to have very little free time these days.

This and these can also be used to indicate people.
This man has been waiting to be served for thirty minutes.
These tourists come from Spain.
However as pronouns they can only be used for things.
I found this in my pocket.
Did you throw these away?
The exception is if they are used as the subject of the verb with a noun/noun phrase:
This is my brother
These are the men I told you about.

That and those
That (singular) and those (plural) are used to refer to things that are far away from the speaker but can still be seen.
Could you get me that hammer over there?

That and those can also be used to refer to periods of time but they refer to periods which are more distant either in the past or future.
It’s a good photo. That was the day I graduated.
Hardware without cables; those will be the days.

Like this and these, that and those can also refer to people except when used as pronouns. That and those can also be used for people if they are the subject of a verb with a noun/noun phrase.

Demonstratives are used to refer back to something mentioned before.
The band was great. That was the best concert I’ve ever been to.
I loved the dessert. Those were the best chocolates ever.

They can also be used to refer back to sentences.
We were all treated like VIPs. They drove us around in limousines. That was a real holiday.

They can also be used to refer forward.
Yes I can see it’s a problem. This is what you could do...

Lesson by Tristan

Now choose the correct demonstrative in these sentences:

  • 1. We’ll get a better view of the bay from ___ hill over there.

  • 2. ___ is Daniel, my brother.

  • 3. I like ___ shirts over there at the other end of the shop.

  • 4. Did you see ___ children across the street? They’re playing football near our car.

  • 5. Why did you buy ___ chocolates? They must have been expensive.

  • 6. ___ days nobody has time to enjoy each other’s company. We’re all very busy.

  • 7. I love ___ house. Look at the size of these rooms.

  • 8. ___ is the last time I’m lending you money.

  • 9. No wonder it’s cold in here. ___ window is open.

  • 10. I remember playing out in the park all day. In ___ days we didn’t have consoles and video games.