pronouns: this, that, these and those

Why do we use this and these?

We use this (singular) and these (plural) as pronouns:

- to talk about people or things near us:

This is a nice cup of tea.
Whose shoes are these?

- to introduce people:

This is Janet.
These are my friends, John and Michael.

We don’t say These are John and Michael.
We say This is John and this is Michael.

- to introduce ourselves to begin a conversation on the phone:

Hello, this is David, Can I speak to Sally?

Why do we use that and those?

We use that (singular) and those (plural):

- to talk about things that are not near us:

What’s that?
This is our house, and that’s Rebecca’s house over there.
Those are very expensive shoes.

- We also use that to refer back to something someone said or did:

  • - Shall we go to the cinema?
    - Yes, that’s a good idea.
  • - I’ve got a new job.
    - That’s great.
  • - I’m very tired.
    - Why is that?

this, these, that, those with nouns

We also use this, these, that and those with nouns to show proximity

We use this and these for people or things near us:

We have lived in this house for twenty years.
Have you read all of these books?

… and that and those for people or things that are not near us:

Who lives in that house?
Who are those people?




What is different between "Who's that ?" and "Who's there ?" ?

Hello Anh Tu 24,

In most contexts, there is essentially no difference in meaning – both ask about the identity of a person that is not visible. 'Who's there?' might more likely be used in a situation where you're not expecting a person to be there (e.g. when you arrive home and sense that someone else is there – creepy!) and 'Who's that?' might more likely be used when in a situation where someone being there is not a surprise (e.g. when you make a phone call and don't recognise the other person's voice).

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Krik

hello sir how are you?
I'm familiar with the rules of "that"
but i hear people say all the time.

1) that's them in the library.
2) that's them in the car about whom i was talking.

my question is according to rules we use "that" for singular that are not near us. why they use "that" here.

does that similar with "it" or dummy construction.

for instance.
it's them they're here.
it's the parents who were protesting.
correct me if I'm mistaken
thanks advanced.

Hello ahmednagar,

These phrases are all in common use. They are examples of non-standard forms which are not, perhaps, entirely grammatically correct but have become accepted through use. They are quite informal and are used in spoken, rather than written, English.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

hi peter

Have you read all of these books?
could i use " did" instead of have - did you read all of these books?

which is the correct way both of these sentence?

Hi taj25,

Both of these are correct. Your question is about the past simple and present perfect forms and you can find pages on each of these, including when they are used, in our grammar section.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi English Team, I am talking about my work experience: 'I am familiar with every aspect of a design and any kind of engineering drawings - construction and installations. I am able to analyze THESE/THOSE? drawings and coordinate them. ' These or Those? Any other advice? Thank you a lot!

Hello KateKasia,

I would suggest the following:

I am familiar with all aspects of design and all kinds of engineering drawings, including construction and installations. I am able to analyze such drawings and coordinate them.

You could replace 'such' with 'these' but I think 'such' is better here in terms of style.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much Peter. May I have one more question? "all aspects of design".
Each time I am confused about "a" and "an" as a word "design" is countable, and I noticed many sentences where it "a", "an" are omitted. Is that because "design" describes discipline? All because we use "of"? Could you give me a clue where to look for an answer?

Thank you again!