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This and That – These and Those

When do we use the this and that – these and those?

This, that, these and those can be used with nouns to distinguish which noun is being spoken about:

  • This car.
  • That boy.
  • These cars.
  • Those boys.

This and that are the singular and these and those for plurals.

This and these are used to talk about people and things, situations and experiences that are close to the speaker or close in time. We use that and those to refer to people and things, situations and experiences that are more distant, either in time or physically.

  • How long have you lived in this country? (Currently in the country.)
  • How long did you live in that country. (A past experience.)

The demonstrative determiner and the demonstrative pronoun

demonstrative determiner (together with a noun): This car is new.

demonstrative pronoun (stands on its own): This is a new car.

When they are used without nouns they are used for things not people:

  • This costs more than that.  (i.e. This car costs more than that car)
  • This boy and that girl are cousins    (NOT This and that are cousins)