This, That, These, Those

This and these refer to things close to us. That and those refer to things far away.

This and that refer to singular things. These and those refer to plural ones.

This, These, Those

This, these, and those are pronouns if they stand alone.  If they are attached to nouns, they are determiners. 

Pronoun:                    This is the best idea you have ever had.

Determiner:               This idea does not make sense.

Pronoun:                    We will have some of those for dinner.

Determiner:               Those songs are boring.

Pronoun:                    These are well-made.

Determiner:               These crackers taste soggy.

Determiners and Other Words

Other words sometimes come between a determiner and its noun. 

This puny snake tried to swallow a mouse.                            This … snake

Those tall boys just joined the basketball team.                     Those … boys


That differs from the other words here in that it can be three parts of speech: a determiner, a pronoun, or a lesser conjunction. We will cover lesser conjunctions in another lesson.

Pronoun:                                That was a good play.

Determiner:                           That play was the best I have seen all season.

Lesser Conjunction:              We have said to him that his acting contract will be renewed.

Sentence 1:  We have told him 


       Sentence 2: His acting contract will be renewed.

Small Group Activity

Name the parts of speech for the underlined words in the following:

1.   This is the way we wash our hands.

2.   I have 16 of these

3.    I wish I could buy one of those

4.   Answer these questions first.

5.  That dog never stops barking.

This and These

Many people use this or these when something takes place in the past.  For example:

Yesterday, there was this weird guy hanging out down at the supermarket.

This and these refer to things near us, which means they should not be used when we are talking or writing about the past.  Use another determiner or rewrite the sentence.

Yesterday, there was a weird guy hanging out down at the supermarket.
Yesterday, some weird guy was hanging out down at the supermarket.

Individual or Small Group Activity

Complete the exercise:         Portugal

Optional Activity