You are here


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




Hallo, I am a new member here.
I am a bit confused:
Here you say: - we use this to introduce ourselves to begin a conversation on the phone:
Hello, this is David, Can I speak to Sally",
but then I see:
" We use it to talk about ourselves on the telephone:
Hello. It’s George."
Is there any difference? Thank you!

Hello alex_moon!
That's a good question! Using This is a little more formal. You would use This when calling people you don't know well, but you could use It or This for friends or family, especially in British English.

Hope that helps!
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot!

On the page "this, that, these and those" there is this warning: "We don’t say These are John and Michael."
I have a question: is it grammatically wrong or is it impolite? If it is wrong, I would like to find explanations and exercises regarding this kind of problem (where "X and Y" should not be treated as a single set).
Thank you. :-)

Hello dg7!
That's an interesting question! I would say the rule is that we would never say These are (a/an) X and (a/an) Y, so it is a grammatical rule, rather than a question of politeness.
Hope that helps!
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you for your replay,
but I still feel unsure. Is it possible to write: "John and Michael are my friends" ?
Is there a page where this kind of problem is explained?

Hello dg7!
Yes, it is possible to write John and Michael are my friends. This rule applies only to These are... I'm afraid we don't have a specific page on this problem - it's not a very common issue!
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

hi i am got 75 % i will do it again until i am remember how to use it.?

Hi. 75%

I got 100% yahooooooooooooooo......