this, that, these and those

 
Topic
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.

WARNING:
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?

Exercise

Comments

Hello Teachers,

Thank you. I found the exercise above really helpful. I do tend to make those mistakes and miss place the pronounce quite often.Is there anywhere in the site where i can ready or practice this a bit more?

Thank you in advance.

Kind regards,

Roseli Anael Perron

Dears,

at question number 7
what are ..... men doing on the roof ?
The correct answer is Those !! while at the lesson mentioned that :

-that and those for things that are not near us
not people so how come the correct answer is Those while we use "Those" for things not people ?? could you please explain ..

Thanks,

Dears,

We don’t say These are John and Michael ?

BR,

Hi HNawar,

While there may be some historical explanation for this, the reason is simply that it is the way people speak in modern standard English.

Regarding your question above about number 7, those can be used to be refer to both people and things. Our explanation above doesn't explain this very clearly, and so we'll fix it as soon as we can. Thanks for pointing this out!

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear teacher
The question:
pass me ( this - that ) dish. I Can't reach it
thanks

Hello menna_mmr,

If you can't reach it then you are more likely to sat 'that dish', which shows more distance. Of course, if there is only one dish on the table then you would simply say 'the dish'.  You can see a fuller explanation of when we use 'this' and 'that' in my answer to another question on this page - take a look at the recent answers below this one to find it.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,
I want to rectify something.

1- we have lived in this house for 20 years
2- we are living in this house for 20 years.

Does both the sentences means the same ?
If not, what is the difference?

Hi ZahidShaikh,

I'm afraid sentence 2 is not correct in standard English. The good news is that the first sentence is correct.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello teacher can I say and that's be right?

1/ This is my friend John and this is my friend Susan. Both of them are my friends.
These are my friends, John and Michael, and Susan, three of them are my friends.

2/On the phone which is correct to say:
This is John
OR
it's John.

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