Demonstrative Pronouns

Pronouns can be a tricky. There are so many of them plus they fall into different categories and have different purposes. To make things even more confusing certain pronouns can be used as other parts of speech. But of all the pronoun categories, demonstrative pronouns seem to cause the most bafflement. Let’s take a closer look at demonstrative pronouns.

What are Demonstrative Pronouns?

Demonstrative pronouns are those that identify or point to a thing or things and occasionally persons.

They can be both singular and plural and they refer to nouns that are either nearby or far away in time or space. What does that mean exactly?

First of all, there are only four demonstrative pronouns – this, that, these, those. This and that refer to singular nouns and these and those identify plural nouns.

The singular this and the plural these refer to a person or thing near the speaker.

The singular that and the plural those refer to a person or thing far away from the speaker.

Let’s look at some examples to get a clearer picture of this.

Examples of Demonstrative Pronouns

This is ridiculous. (This refers to an object or event close to the speaker.)
That is ridiculous. (That refers to an object or event farther away in space or time.)
These are ridiculous. (These refer to objects close to the speaker.)
Those are ridiculous. (Those refer to objects farther away in space and time.)

More examples

I really like this.
This smells heavenly.
That costs way too much money.
I heard that.
These look perfect.
I’ll buy these.
Those belong over there.
I own those.
These are nicer than those.
Is this yours?
Did you see that?
That is one way to do it.
Is that right?
That is incorrect.

Demonstrative Pronouns vs Demonstrative Adjectives

Sometimes people tend to confuse demonstrative pronouns and demonstrative adjectives. After all, the words are identical. The difference is that a demonstrative pronoun can stand alone. A demonstrative adjective will always qualify a noun. Here are some examples:

I wanted that. (Here that is used as a demonstrative pronoun that stands alone.)
That cake tastes awesome. (In this case that is used as a demonstrative adjective that qualifies the noun cake.)

In some cases demonstrative pronouns can refer to people if the person is identified.

Is that Jim?
This is Jack speaking.

Remember, when using demonstrative pronouns they do not qualify a noun. They stand alone. Other points to remember are this and that are singular and refer to something near to the speaker in time and place. These and those are plural referring to things farther away in time and space. Learning these simple rules will help you use demonstrative pronouns correctly.