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

Hello dziaucyna,

As far as I know, there's no real difference between using 'it' and 'this' on the phone to identify yourself. I personally use 'this' much more often than 'it', but both are perfectly correct. 

When introducing people, 'this' is used, not 'it'. See our it and there page for a bit more information on this. 

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Is it possible to replace the word "that" by "it"? Like for these examples:
1.Shall we go to the cinema?
- Yes, that’s a good idea.
or
Yes, It's a good idea
2. When the phone rang and you answered the call (Hello! Who is this? instead of Who is it?

Hello RTris,

In the first example you need to use 'that' and not 'it'. Although people would understand if you said 'it', the sentence would not be standard English.

In the second example, it's possible to say 'this' as well as 'it', but the version with 'this' may sound slightly aggressive - more like a challenge than a greeting. Of course, the tone of voice has a big role to play here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

got 8 out of 8.. :)

hello sir .

how is "This" and "It" used in sentences like
It is John and this is Michael.
instead of
This is John and this is Michael.

"It" is used to identify a person rather than to introduce them. When we want to introduce someone, we use "this".

hello sir ,

Can it be :
It is a nice cup of tea .
instead of
This is a nice cup of tea .

Hello gurpriya,

Grammatically both are possible, but 'this' is much more likely if we have the cup of team in front of us. However, without a context it is not possible to say which is the better choice.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

When do we need to use ' Why is that?' and How to use it

Hello Chong Cheng Feng,

In general, 'Why is that?' means the same thing as 'Why?' As far as I can tell, you could use it in most situations where you would say 'why?', e.g. 'My sister doesn't like ice cream' - 'Why?' (or: 'Why is that?) - 'She's allergic to milk.'

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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