Demonstrative Pronouns

Previous Page

Demonstrative Pronouns :

The family of demonstratives (this/that/these/those/such) can behave either as pronouns or as determiners.

As pronouns, they identify or point to nouns.

  • That is incredible! (referring to something you just saw)

  • I will never forget this. (referring to a recent experience)

  • Such is my belief. (referring to an explanation just made)

    As determiners, the demonstratives adjectivally modify a noun that follows. A sense of relative distance (in time and space) can be conveyed through the choice of these pronouns/determiners:

  • These [pancakes sitting here now on my plate] are delicious.

  • Those [pancakes that I had yesterday morning] were even better.

  • This [book in my hand] is well written.

  • that [book that I'm pointing to, over there, on the table] is trash.

    A sense of emotional distance or even disdain can be conveyed with the demonstrative pronouns:

  • You're going to wear these?

  • This is the best you can do?

    Pronouns used in this way would receive special stress in a spoken sentence.

    When used as subjects, the demonstratives, in either singular or plural form, can be used to refer to objects as well as persons.

  • This is my father.

  • That is my book.

    In other roles, however, the reference of demonstratives is non-personal. In other words, when referring to students, say, we could write "Those were loitering near the entrance during the fire drill" (as long as it is perfectly clear in context what "those" refers to). But we would not write "The principal suspended those for two days"; instead, we would have to use "those" as a determiner and write "The principal suspended those students for two days."

    Related Links :

  • Personal Pronouns

  • Demonstrative Pronouns

  • Indefinite Pronouns

  • Relative Pronouns

  • Reflexive Pronouns

  • Intensive Pronouns

  • Interrogative Pronouns

  • Reciprocal Pronouns

  • English Glossary Index

    From Demonstrative Pronouns to HOME PAGE