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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

MultipleChoice_MTU4MjM=

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

Matching_MTU4MjQ=

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

GapFillDragAndDrop_MTU4NDQ=

 

Comments

Hello Ibrahim Elwy,

'This' and 'that' are very much context dependent. We use 'this' generally when something is close to us and 'that' when it is further away. It is correct to say 'I think that book is mine'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks so much. I'm learning something new everyday.

Hello Team!
I'm sorry for a noob question,

"- to introduce ourselves to begin a conversation on the phone:

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

Can I replace THIS with IT? Since I'm going to begin a conversation? Thanks!!:)

Hi, I found a rule that we should use: "this is .....".
It is more common and natural:)

Hello Hazardous,

It's possible to say 'it's David' instead, but it's far more common to say 'this is David'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

I have noticed this question has been asked quite a few times. And maybe both are interchangeable. I'm sorry. Although I only wanted to know the usage of It and This with respect to 'beginning' a conversation on the phone. Can we use IT when we begin a conversation ...? Thank you so much.

Hello again Hazardous,

As I said above, 'this is ...' is really the most common way to identify yourself at the beginning of a phone conversation. In a face-to-face conversation, there are many different ways to begin one.

If you have some specific conversation in mind, please let us know and we'll let you know what we think.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Hazardous,

Great - I'm glad that helped you. And yes, you're right - a band or team is considered a thing and we say 'what' for that reason. Good work!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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