Topic
pronouns: this, that, these and those

Why do we use 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.

WARNING:
We don’t say These are John and Michael.
We say This is John and this is Michael.

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

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

Why do we use that and those?

We use that (singular) and those (plural):

- to talk about things that are not near us:

What’s that?
This is our house, and that’s Rebecca’s house over there.
Those are very expensive shoes.

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

  • - 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?

this, these, that, those with nouns

We also use this, these, that and those with nouns to show proximity

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?

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

Excuse me,
Which one is correct ?!
Who said that or who said this.
For ex:
If someone tweet an information and I want to ask about who said that/This ? In this situation which one is the best ?

Hello Lelouch9,

The choice is really context-dependent but I would say that in general 'that' is used to refer to things further away and 'this' to things closer. In terms of time, we would use 'that' when we are referring back to something that was said before and 'this' when we repeat the quote in our question.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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