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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 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,


The LearnEnglish Team

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,


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:


Best wishes,


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

Hello IraR,

It's hard for me to comment without actually seeing the chart itself, as I don't see the thing which you are describing. However, I think we would formulate the sentence differently and say something like this:

The chart shows that the category with the most minutes was 'Local', with 70 billion minutes spoken in 1995.

There are quite a few errors in your sentences. I think it would be helpful for you to have a teacher work through them with you. If you do not have a teacher then you can find out about IELTS courses at the British Council on our page for your country: 

Please also visit, if you have not already, our site for IELTS candidates: TakeIELTS. You'll find tips, suggestions, practice materials, mock exam papers and sample answers there to help you.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I can't understand the difference between:

We use it to talk about ourselves:
• on the telephone: Hello. It’s George.

We use this (singular) and these (plural) as pronouns:
to introduce ourselves to begin a conversation on the phone: Hello, this is David, Can I speak to Sally?

Can you help me, please.


We can begin a conversation in either way but there is a slight difference. If I know the person very well then 'It's George' is more likely. We begin in this way when we are speaking to someone who we know well and speak to often, so that the call is not completely unexpected.

'This is George' would be used when the other person knows you but does not necessarily expect a call, or might be surprised by the call.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team