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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.



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




Hi, sir. I have a question about pronoun.
In this sentence 'Everyone in her class loves the beautiful flowers.' preposition 'of' can't be used?
While in this sentence 'Everyone of her family will go.' the preposition 'of' was used instead of 'in'?
Please enlighten me. Thanks.

Hello Moeka,

'of' is not correct in the first sentence, nor does it sound correct to me in the second sentence. I would say 'in' in both sentences, not 'for'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


here's the sentence that I've been struggling for a while: "why do you like torturing me with these/those hints everyday?" so should i say these or those? heeeelp

Hello AdrianW,

What tomatosama (thanks, tomatosama!) says is correct. 'that' is used for things that are distant from us (whether in space or time) and 'this' for things that are closer.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I wouldn't call myself an expert but I will try to help you as well as I can.

Anyway, I'd like to remark that the usage of "these" and "those" depends pretty much on the context. So it'll be easier to explain if you could provide a little background. i can help you very much more efficiently that way.

You would say "Those hints" for a situation where you are reacting to hints you have gotten in the past and not the hints you got right that moment. As I said, it can also be used differently based on the context.
1) They: I already gave you so many hints.
You: why do you like torturing me with those hints everyday?

Now, if they just gave you another hint right now which caused you to react,
You would react with use "these" because this time you are pointing towards the current hint including the hints you've gotten in the past.

You: What did you bring for lunch today?
They: I'll give you a hint. You like it yet you don't, guess what it is?
You: why do you like torturing me with these hints everyday?

If you still don't get it (Which is the most probable situation due to my cluttered style of writing),
Please provide me the context, I'll do my best to help :)
Or you can wait for someone else to answer.

context: one musician has been throwing hints about the new album for couple of months now and i just wanted to ask him like "why do you like torturing your fans with these hints so much?" so that's what i wanted to is it correct at all? I mean, does this question make sense? if no, can you help me and tell me how it should be written so it'd mean the same but would make sense?! :)

Is the sentence
"Only those should kill others who are prepared to die themselves"

The intention is to tell a person that they should only kill someone if they themselves have the resolve to die.

A quick response is appreciated.

Hello tomatosama,

The word order in the sentence should be different:

Only those who are prepared to die themselves should kill others.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Is the way I put it wrong or does it only feel clumsy?

I mean, Is this change necessary?

Hello tomatosama,

Yes, the change is necessary. The relative clause 'who are prepared to die themselves' must go immediately after its antecedent ('those').

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team