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?




Please help. which is the correct sentence? and Why? thankyousomuch
a. what are these?
b. What these are?

Hello Kimramin,

The first one is correct. The word order in simple wh-questions is wh-word ('what') + verb/auxiliary verb ('is') + predicate ('these').

See our Question forms page for a more detailed explanation.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

By the way i forgot to follow up my question. if the question goes like this, "Can you tell me what these are?" is this the correct question? or still the same "Can you tell me what are these?" thank you once again =)

Hello Kimramin,

You need to use inversion in this question so '...what these are?' is correct and '...what are these?' is incorrect.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much!!! More power and God bless =)

What is the difference between using it and that on phone
in example Hello, this is David, Can I speak to Sally?
Can I say Hello, It's David .... istead of this ?

Hello asmaa,

Yes, 'it's' is also commonly used here.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

uhm, "english vocab and grammar" include grammar like this lesson and where can I find the vocab section?
sorry if this question aren't relevant to this lesson

Hello poinsettia.noel,

Our Vocabulary exercises section currently has 30 pages on different topis. We plan to release ten more pages soon, and then will be releasing another 25 pages over the next few months.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi There,

About uncountable nouns, we have to use plural or singular?


This, That advice


These, Those advice

Thank You

Franz Vegetarian