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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 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.

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,
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.
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,


The LearnEnglish Team