this, that, these and those

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?



i don't understand the use of those and these very well. Espacially on differences situations concerning people.

Hi FOE Bernard,

The explanation here is quite clear so I'm not sure which part is confusing for you. Perhaps you could give us a specific example which you don't understand, and we'll be happy to explain it for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello guys!

I have a doubt concerning the use of "this" or "that" while writing. So, for example, if i say:

"It is time of being a child, playing with other kids and toys. THIS is part of having a happy childhood and THIS will also help them to develop some skills.


"Having compromises seems a good way to prepare children to the future. THAT will contribute to make them acquire some sense of responsibility. All THAT may contribute to turn the children into healthy adults.

Is the use of "this" and "that" right in the sentences above? I wrote them some time ago and I just "try to feel" when to use this or that, but i am not sure when to use one or another. Is there a rule I can follow or any site I can read more about it? I have already searched on google, but there is not anything specific about ... THAT/THIS.