Demonstratives (This, These, That, Those)

What are Demonstratives (this, these, that, those)?

Demonstratives are words like “this”, “these”, “that”, and “those.” These demonstratives help show demonstrative systems of agreement in syntax or structure, which means they are used to indicate the place or object being talked about – whether close or far away, singular or plural.

Demonstratives are different in many languages, but all demonstratives map to the same concepts. This type of demonstrative system is at work in a lot of languages, and can also be observed in sign language.

Understanding demonstratives unlock how to better express complex thoughts with more accuracy and specificity!

Demonstratives Rules

Learning these four critical rules when using phrases with Demonstratives will help communication become clearer and easier. With these four rules firmly entrenched in one’s grammar skillset, any English speaker can properly construct sentences with ease!

QuantityThe first determiner rule states that determiners should be used when quantifying a noun, such as “five apples”.
IndicateThe second determiner rule explains how determiners should be used to indicate the specific or general nature of a noun, such as “the apple” or “an apple” respectively.
PlacementThe third determiner rule is about placement — determiners should always come before the noun they’re assigned to.
MultiplicityAnd finally, the fourth determiner rule states that determiners can be mixed and concatenated together when multiple determiners appear in the same sentence.
Demonstrative Rules and Explanation Table
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Examples of Demonstratives (this, these, that, those)

Demonstratives—this, these, that and those—are a type of demonstrative determiner. They are used to demonstrate a specific noun and are essential in specifying things in proximity to the speaker. For example,

“This jacket is warm” helps to clarify that the speaker is referring to the jacket they are currently wearing.

Similarly, demonstratives can be used to refer further away. You could say “The United States is beautiful” or “Those flowers look lovely”.

Each demonstrative provides clarity on what specific thing is being discussed. Demonstratives are highly versatile and make it easier when speaking or writing about different objects within a sentence.

Demonstratives Exercises with Answers


  • _ blog post is mine.
  • _ cake looks delicious.
  • _ cookies are mine.
  • _ business profiles look good.
  • _ experience was surreal.
  • _ graph shows you have good blood pressure.


  • This blog post is mine.
  • That cake looks delicious.
  • These cookies are mine.
  • Those business profiles look good.
  • That experience was surreal.
  • This graph shows you have good blood pressure.

Demonstratives List

ArticlesArticles can include ‘the’ or ‘a’.
PossessivesPossessives can be commonly represented with an apostrophe ‘s’ (ex. Mary’s).
DemonstrativesDemonstrative determiners are words like ‘this,’ ‘that,’ and ‘those.’
InterrogativesInterrogative determiners are words like ‘which’ that are used as interrogative pronouns when forming questions.
QuantifiersQuantifiers indicate quantity with determinants such as ‘some’ and ‘many’.
Number WordsNumber words function аѕ determiner-adjectives with numerals like ‘five.’
Demonstratives List Table
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Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

Learning demonstratives is a great way for ESL students and English language learners to boost their confidence in speaking and writing. Demonstratives are a group of words that indicate something specific, such as “this” or “that.”

By understanding demonstratives, not only can you add variety to your sentences while conversing with other native English speakers, but you can also demonstrate an advanced level of knowledge with demonstrative pronouns and demonstrative adjectives.

Practising these in various settings will help make them second nature. Start by working with a tutor or an experienced ESL teacher who can give you useful feedback on pronunciation and context. You can also practice demonstratives in your own time by reading books aloud and referencing demonstratives as well as joining online communities for more targeted advice about demonstrative usage.

Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand cardinal numbers (one, two, three) and articles (a, an, the).

Common Mistakes Made by English Learners

English demonstratives are an area where many English students struggle. Common mistakes like choosing the wrong demonstrative for a situation and mixing up demonstratives with possessive pronouns can often occur if the difference between the two is not understood.

Speaking with native English speakers, watching YouTube videos to pick up demonstrative usage, and making sure you know the differences between demonstrative adjectives and demonstratives, in general, can help ensure that demonstrative usage is mastered quickly while studying a language. Mistakes made while trying to understand demonstratives are very common, so don’t worry if it takes some extra time – keep practising and you’ll have it down soon enough!

Common Mistakes:

1. Incorrect Tense

Why it Happens

Not having a firm grasp on correct determiner usage can confuse your statements. This can cause you to use the wrong determiners and misconstrue your message.

Correct Use

When speaking English, you would use a determiner that reflects the subject in question. Keep context in mind when selecting your determiners.

2. Lack of determiners

Why it Happens

The easiest mistake is leaving out determiners when needed. Failing to use these in phrases can lead others to misinterpret what you are trying to express.

Correct Use

Determiners join words to a person, place, or thing – for example, ‘the cat meowed’ or ‘I love pasta’.

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3. Inconsistency

Why it Happens

People forget how they described something before and change the context in a contradictory manner. This confuses the reader.

Correct Use

Be sure that your determiners remain consistent throughout your writing. There should be no sudden shifts from ‘they’ to ‘this’ unless there was a clear shift in the thing being described.

4. Incorrect Usage

Why it Happens

You don’t know which determiners to use, so you use too many and it confuses the statement.

Correct Use

Using too many determiners can make your writing sound monotonous and can also lead to viewers losing interest. Therefore it is important to focus on expressing yourself clearly and effectively with them.

Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes:

  • It can be difficult to avoid making mistakes in any activity or task, but one simple tip for avoiding common errors is to use demonstratives. Demonstratives are words that indicate to what you are referring, such as “this”, “these”, “that” and “those”. When constructing sentences with demonstratives, it is important to make sure the demonstrative actually refers to the correct thing.
  • It is important to keep in mind that demonstratives must always agree with the noun they are modifying. Always make sure to properly use ”this”, ”that”, ”these”, and ”those” based on whether the noun is singular or plural.
  • Additionally, pay attention to the demonstratives” distance from the noun – closer demonstratives are used for nearer entities and further demonstratives for those farther away.
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Learning Demonstratives Strategies and Best Practices

It is important to understand demonstratives if you want to become a more effective communicator. Demonstratives are words or phrases that can be used to explain or describe something through the use of gestures, body language, or other signifiers. With demonstrative strategies and best practices, individuals can learn how to communicate clearly and accurately through these means.

Moreover, learning demonstrative strategies often helps reduce misunderstandings caused by miscommunication. By regularly using demonstratives in everyday conversations, individuals can increase their effectiveness as a communicator and help build better relationships with others. Keep reading for more useful tips:

Tip 1: Study a List

Why it helps

Learning the various forms and using them properly in speaking and writing is easier than it seems with daily practice. A list can simplify this process and make it seem less daunting.

Daily Life Example

The best way to learn to use determiners correctly is to study a list of determiners and their usages, and then practice writing sentences with them.

Tip 2: Practice Reading

Why it helps

Exposing yourself to determiners hidden between other words can help you identify them faster and more accurately.

Daily Life Example

To ensure that you understand how frequently a type of pronoun should be used it’s important to practice reading with them as well, so the meanings become clear. So keep a book of your choice on hand and highlight every pronoun you come across.

Tip 3: Everyday Conversations

Why it helps

By applying the determiners exercise to everyday conversations, you’ll find these words easy to remember and use in the near future.

Daily Life Example

Take your time when speaking to people. Take note of the determiners they use, and try and repeat them back in different contexts. You can also do this from the comfort of your home by recording yourself or using an AI assistant.

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Demonstratives Frequently Asked Questions

Demonstrative pronouns are used to point out or refer to a particular noun in a sentence. There are 12 demonstrative pronouns that exist in the English language — these, those, this, that, such, what, whichever, whichever one(s), each other, another, none and whoever.

Using demonstrative pronouns helps provide clarity to your sentence structure and allows you to easily refer back to previously mentioned objects. For example, if you just described a painting of three dogs playing by an ocean you could use demonstratives such as these dogs or that painting when you wanted to refer specifically to something in a daily email or fascinating story without having to restate all of the details again.

Demonstratives are demonstrative words, pronouns, and inflections that indicate the distance in time or space between a speaker and the thing they’re referring to. There are four types of demonstratives: demonstrative determiners, demonstrative pronouns, demonstrative adjectives, and demonstrative adverbs.

Demonstrative determiners include “this” and “that”, while demonstrative pronouns include “these” and “those.” Demonstrative adjectives help describe nouns or pronouns that appear near, while demonstrative adverbs can indicate a time reference in addition to their descriptive purpose.

‘Those’ is a demonstrative pronoun – it points to an object, person, or idea that is already known. It can be used to refer to people who are present and things that are close at hand.

This versatile demonstrative is commonly used in English conversations or a fascinating story, replacing more formal language such as ‘those people over there’ with the simple and straightforward ‘those’. This can make dialogue feel more natural or casual without deviating from the meaning.

The word “the” is known as a demonstrative pronoun, which is a part of speech used to indicate specific items or people within a sentence. It plays an important role in helping identify certain objects and clearly states what the sentence is referring to.

For example, if the phrase “the watermelon” was used in one sentence, it would directly refer to something specific rather than any watermelon. Demonstratives can also be used on their own as well, such as when asking someone for directions and using “the” to pinpoint an exact location, or in terms with quotations.

When using demonstratives for grammar, there is a specific difference between ‘those’ and ‘them.’ ‘Those’ has several functions in language. It can be used to refer to something that is plural and located at a farther distance from the speaker.

On the other hand, the terms with quotations ‘them’ or ‘they’ must only refer to a person or people that the speaker can identify. This means that when it comes to demonstratives, those two words each have very distinct roles in language.

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