Demonstratives in English: this, that, these, those

THIS, THAT, THESE, THOSE indicate distance between the speaker and the object (physical or psychological). This & these refer to an object near to the speaker, while that & those refer to an object far from the speaker. In Italian there is a further, though a bit obsolete in some areas, demonstrative, "codesto", which refers to something far from the speaker but near to the listener. Depending on the context, this or that will be used in English to render the Italian "codesto".


Position and function

  • In front of the noun
  • Alone when the noun is 'understood'.
    • I like this car.
    • I do not like that car.
    • How much are these?
    • What are those?
    Function: They indicate the distance of the object from the speaker. It can be either a physical distance or a psychological distance.
    • Who owns that house? (distant)
    • Is this John's house? (near)
    • I do not like that man. (distant)
    • This is a nice surprise! (near)
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