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Level: beginner

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.

Be careful!

We say, This is John and this is Michael. (NOT These are John and Michael.)

  • to begin a conversation on the phone:

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

that and those

We use that (singular) and those (plural) as pronouns to talk about things that are not near us:

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



We also use that to reply to something someone has said:

'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?'

Replies with that's 1


Replies with that's 2


With nouns

We can also use this, these, that and those with nouns. 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?

Demonstratives with nouns




Hello tomatosama,

Yes, the change is necessary. The relative clause 'who are prepared to die themselves' must go immediately after its antecedent ('those').

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Please if you could help me:

What is correct: because THESE or THOSE disputes are accompanied by growing military power....

Hello emirjuve,

Both are possible. It depends on the context and the co-text. I would say 'these' is more likely if you have just referred to the disputes, and 'those' is really only likely if you are discussing different kinds of disputes and want to emphasise that you are referring back to an earlier kind.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much. Best...

What are these?
They are my posters. (it's in the text book)

What are these?
These are my posters. (is this variant possible?)

ps to get the comment page i need to write a comment in any case + verify it,
why can't i reply to a person directly?
VERY inconvenient

Hello JuliaF,

I think the earlier answer deals with this very clearly. As Kirk said, we use 'these' when we want to distinguish between two alternatives. We would only say 'These are my posters' if we have, for example, several groups of posters and we want to say 'these are mine, not those'.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

It is very important exercises.


Here is the Q

The exercise:

Look here.What are_________? Are THEY computer games???

Why do we use THEY instead of THESE in the third sentence??

ps: in this exrs you need to put this, that, these or those
this part i dont understand

Would you help me, please?
reply ASAP pls

Hello Julia,

Demonstratives such as 'these' are normally only used when we need to clearly indicate which object we are referring to versus another object. In this case, perhaps there are some red boxes and some yellow boxes on a table in a shop. You point to the red ones that are near you and use 'these' to refer to them; if you were referring to the yellow boxes that are farther away, you'd say 'those'.

After that, it's clear which boxes you are speaking about, so you should just use a normal pronoun such as 'they'.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

How can we introduce ourselves on the phone. If I say on the phone, "Hello, it's rushil this side", will I be wrong ?