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Demonstratives

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.

Demonstratives

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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

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Replies with that's 2

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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

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Comments

Thanks a lot

WARNING:
We don’t say These are John and Michael.
We say This is John and this is Michael.
Bur sir ,how below sentence is correct then ?
I'm John and ..these... are my children Molly and Jake.

Hello HAMMAD AHMED SHAH,

The reason we use 'these' in the second sentence is because we have a plural noun ('children') before the names. Compare the following:

This is John and Michael.

These are my friends, John and Michael.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,

Which is a better option to introduce ourselves on phone or email? "It" or "this"? I mean "This is Bilal here." or "It is Bilal here."? Which one is most recommended?

Thank you.

Hello Bilal.Mustafa,

We would use 'this' rather than 'it' but there are several options:

Hello, this is Bilal.

Hello, Bilal here.

Hello, my name is Bilal. I'm calling to ask...

The last of these is more formal and would be used when we are phoning someone we do not know.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello.
Excuse me, I have a serious doubt. I was always taught that in the sentence "this chicken" the word "this" is an adjective. The correct use of "this" as a pronoun would be: "this is my chicken". Or even better "this one is mine". Since an adjective is always next to the noun, as it is understood from the origin of the word in latin. While a pronoun is always substituting the noun, hence the prefix PRO: on behalf of... (the) NOUN.

Hello PonchoTM,

'This' can function as a pronoun, as described on this page. It can also function, as you say, in a different way as a determiner. Determiners have an adjectival role but have a particular function. You can read about determiners here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, Could you please tell me which sentence is right of following ( The less electricity you use, the less bill you will get, Or You will get the bill as less as you use the electricity ? ) Sir, Where should I use The comparative The and as adjective as ? Please explain

Hello SonuKumar,

The best way to formulate this sentence would be one of the following:

The less electricity you use, the lower the bill you will get.

The less electricity you use, the lower your bill will be.

You can find information on the as... as... construction on our pages on comparative forms:

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/quick-grammar/comparing-and-contrasting-modifying-comparatives

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/adjectives/comparative-and-superlative-adjectives

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everyone! Please help me to understand..
I have a question about what to choose- THIS or THAT.
I'm preparing for IELTS, the sentences from Writing task 1. There I should describe the bar chart about how many minutes did people in some years. Here are the sentences: "The highest position is for so-called Local kind. In 1995 more than 70 billions minutes were talked by this / or that -? Line."
Thank you
Ira

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