How to Use Demonstrative Determiners

It's over there!
It's over there!. Westend61 / Getty Images

This That These and Those are known as demonstrative determiners, or demonstrative pronouns. They are often used with the location words here and there or prepositional phrases such as on the corner. Demonstrative determiners means that we are demonstrating to someone that one or more objects are here or there. In other words, we use demonstrative determiners to show something to someone.

Conversational Examples

Notice how the use of thisthatthese and those changes depending on the location of the speakers in the following dialogs.

Location can be a relative term. If I am standing in a room over there may mean that something is on the other side of the room as in this example:

David: Could you give me that book on the table over there?
Frank: Do you mean this book here?
David: Yes, that book.
Frank: Here you are. Oh, could you give me those magazines on the table over there?
David: These? Sure, here you are.

In this dialog, David asks Frank for a book which is next to him. Notice that David uses over there to refer to something on the table on the other side of the room.

However, the following example occurs outdoors. In this case, here covers a much larger area while there refers to something further away.

David: Is that Mt. Rainer over there?
Frank: No, Mt. Rainer is further away. That is Mt. Adams.
David: What's the name of this mountain in front of us?
Frank: This is Mt. Hood. It's the tallest mountain in Oregon.
David: I'm glad you're my tour guide! How about these flowers in this meadow?
Frank: These are called trillium.

Here, There or Prepositional Phrase

This and these are used with objects that are relatively close. Use this and these with the location word here if needed. It's also common to substitute here with a prepositional phrase indicating a precise location. Prepositional phrases begin with a preposition followed by a noun.

This is my bag here.
These are my new photos here. I took them last week.
This is my new computer on the desk. Do you like it?
These are my friends in this room.

That is used for singular objects, and those is used for plural objects that are located away from the speaker. That and those are often used with the there to indicate that the object is away from the speaker. However, prepositional phrases are also used instead of there or over there.

That is my car parked over there.
There! Those are the men the committed the crime.
Those are my friends over there.
Those are my apple trees at the back of the garden.

Singular Forms

Both this and that are used with the singular form of the verb and refer to one object, person, or place. 

This dress is beautiful!
That door leads to the bedroom.
This man works at a brewery.
That town is known for its history.

Plural Forms

These and those are used with the plural form of the verb and refer to more than one object, person, or place.

These books are so heavy!
Those paintings were done by Van Gogh. 
These people work in our human resources department.
Those boys play basketball on the middle school team.

This / That / These / Those Quiz

Complete the sentences using this, that, these, those, as well as here or there:

  1. Could you bring me that chair over _____?
  2. Here are _____ pictures you asked for.
  3. Can you see _____ building next to the bank?
  4. Is _____ piece of pie over there for me?
  5. _____ are three boys sitting on the bench.
  6. I would like some of _____ cookies right here.
  7. _____ bicycles over there are expensive.
  8. _____ dolls on the table are very old.
  9. _____ are the books you wanted.
  10. I'd love to have that picture on the wall over _____.

Answers

  1. there - Use there to speak about something away from you.
  2. those - Use those to refer to something you've discussed earlier.
  3. that - Use that to point out large structures that are away from you.
  4. there - Use there in the questions is there / are there  to ask if something is available.
  5. There - Use there to indicate people who are away from you.
  6. these - Use these to speak about something close by.
  1. those - Use those to indicate more that one object.
  2. those - Use those to discuss something away from you.
  3. here - Use here is / here are when handing something to someone.
  4. there - Use there in the phrase to indicate something in the distance. 

 

Here are the answers for the 'This','That', 'These', 'Those', 'Here' and 'There' exercise on the previous page. If you answered incorrectly, return to the structure page by clicking page '1' below to study the forms again.
  1. Could you bring me that chair over there?
  2. Here are these pictures.
  3. Can you see that building next to the bank?
  4. Is there a piece of pie for me?
  5. There are three boys sitting on the bench.
  1. I would like some of those cookies on that shelf.
  2. Those bicycles over there are expensive.
  3. These dolls on the table here are very old.