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, The LearnEnglish Team!
Could you help me, please? Which of the following sentences is correct? [about specific foods]
"They are protein, vitamins and fiber". Or "They are proteins, vitamins and fiber".
Is it possible to use a singular countable noun like "protein" soon after "They are" provided there are two more words followed (vitamins and fiber)?
Could both of those sentences be correct?
It would be really kind of you if you could help! Thanks a lot in advance!

Hello Yuriy UA,

It is very hard to say without knowing the context, as it may be that 'They contain...' is better than 'They are...' here. However in answer to your question, it is possible to use the singular form here if the 'are' refers to items in a list:

Three constituents are important here. They are protein, vitamins and fibre.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


what about comments or feedbacks. Do I need to use it or that?

Smth like That's a good idea. or It's nice weather today. What's the difference?


Hello sofiikaas,

That really depends on what you say. 'That's a good idea' is a great way to give feedback. 'It's nice weather today' sounds a little unnatural, though certainly intelligible - people usually say something like 'The weather is nice today' instead. I'm afraid there aren't always good reasons that explain why people say one thing and not another - in some cases it's just what people say.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I have a question about THIS and IT when introducing on the phone. Which one is correct or both are?

Hey. It's John or This is John?

Hello sofiikas,

Both 'this is' and 'it's' are used to identify yourself when answering the phone. There's no significant difference in meaning or use as far as I know.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team 

Why That/that is the true answers here, please?
What was ............... you said?
This / this
That / that
These / these
Those / those
All the best!

Hello Reccord,

The reason is on the page above:

We also use that to refer back to something someone said or did

Here the speaker is referring back to something that was said before.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Peter M

What's the difference when speaking on the phone between:

Hello, this is David.


Hello, It's David.

And the same for the situation when you introduce people.

Thank you in advance.