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Demonstratives - This, that, these, those

Demonstratives - This, that, these, those

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Demonstratives - This, That, These, Those

Hello! In this lesson, we will learn the demonstratives. Demonstratives are words which distinguish nouns from one another.  We have used nouns in previous lessons. Nouns are names for persons, places, things, and ideas. In this lesson, we will concentrate on using demonstratives with things.

Demonstratives are words which distinguish things which are near the speaker from things that are further away from the speaker. Let us start by introducing each of the demonstratives and how we use them.  The demonstratives are "this, that, these," and "those".  

The demonstrative "this" is used to refer to one thing which is near the speaker. The demonstrative "that" is used to refer to one thing which is further away from the speaker. The demonstrative "these" is used to refer to more than one similar things which are near the speaker.

The demonstrative "those" is used to refer to more than one similar things which are further away from the speaker. There are no definite distances involved in determining whether to use "this" or "these" for nearby objects or "that" or "those" for things which are further away. The locations of things in relation to the speaker are relative locations, and the determination of proximity can vary according to the circumstance.

Now that we have a basic understanding of what demonstratives are, let us become more familiar with their use in a short dialog. In this dialog, Jennifer and David are looking at objects in their apartment.  While listening to the dialog, pay special attention to the demonstratives that are used.

Jennifer: This table is pretty.

David:  Yes, that is a pretty table.

Jennifer:  And that carpet is beautiful.

David: Yes, thisis a beautiful carpet.

Jennifer: These chairs are ugly.

David:  Yes, those are ugly chairs.

Jennifer:  Those windows are dirty.

David:  Yes, these are dirty windows.

In the sentence "This table is pretty.", the demonstrative "this" tells us that the table is near Jennifer.  Notice that the demonstrative "this" is used as an adjective in this sentence. As we have learned in a previous lesson, adjectives give us more information about nouns or pronouns. The phrase "this table" distinguishes a nearby table from any other things.

In the sentence "Yes, that is a pretty table.", the demonstrative "that" tells us that the table is relatively further away from David. Notice that the demonstrative "that" is used as a pronoun in this sentence. As we have learned in a previous lesson, a pronoun is used instead of a noun. Notice that David does not say "That table is a pretty table." Instead, he uses the word "that" to replace the phrase "that table".

In the sentence "And that carpet is beautiful.", the demonstrative"that" tells us that Jennifer is relatively further away from the carpet. Notice that the demonstrative "that" is used as an adjective which gives more information about the word "carpet".

In the sentence "Yes, this is a beautiful carpet.", the demonstrative"this" tells us that David is near the carpet. Notice that the demonstrative "this" is used as a pronoun which is used instead of using the word "carpet" twice in the sentence.

In the sentence "These chairs are ugly.", the demonstrative "these" tells us that there are at least two chair , and that Jennifer is near the chairs. Notice that the demonstrative "these" is used as an adjective which gives us more information about the word "chairs".

In the sentence "Yes, those are ugly chairs.", the demonstrative "those" tells us that there are at least two chairs and David is near the chairs. Notice that the demonstrative "those" is used as a pronoun which is used instead of using the word "chairs" twice in the sentence.

In the sentence "Those windows are dirty.".the demonstrative "those" tells us that there are at least two windows and Jennifer is relatively further away from the windows.  Notice that the demonstrative "those" is used as an adjective which gives us more information about the windows.

In the sentence "Yes, these are dirty windows.", the demonstrative "these" tells us that there are at least two windows and David is near the windows. Notice that the demonstrative "these" is used as a pronoun which is used instead of using the word "windows" twice in the sentence.

Demonstratives can be used with nouns denoting persons, places, things, and ideas. In this lesson we concentrated on their use with things.  Listen to the conversation again and pay special attention to the demonstratives. Notice whether the demonstratives are used as adjectives, such as "this table", "that carpet", "these chairs", and "those windows" or as pronouns, where the demonstratives are used to replace the name of the thing or things, such as "That is a pretty table."

Jennifer: This table is pretty.

David:  Yes, that is a pretty table.

Jennifer:  And that carpet is beautiful.

David:  Yes, this is a beautiful carpet.

Jennifer:  These chairs are ugly.

David:  Yes, those are ugly chairs.

Jennifer:  Those windows are dirty.

David:  Yes, these are dirty windows.

Great! Now that you understand this conversation, you have a good understanding of the demonstratives. It is time to reinforce these words in your mind and start using them in English.