The demonstratives

English grammar (See all)

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The demonstratives

There are two demonstrative adjectives: this and that which can be used to replace a person, object or idea.
•  this (singular), these (plural) are used to express PROXIMITY in space or time.
•  that (singular), those (plural) are used to express DISTANCE in space or time.
These whales are very beautiful. These whales which are close to us are very beautiful.
This is Luna. This person near us is Luna.
Are these your monkeys? Are these monkeys here yours?
in this country In the country we are in at the moment.
these days In the time or days in which we live.

in that country In a specific country which is not the one we are in now.
Look at that plane. Look at the plane some distance from us.
Is that what Philip really thinks? makes reference to a past statement.
in those days makes reference to a time in the past.

There are other demonstratives which are also commonly used in English:
•  the
I was a waiter at the time. I was a waiter at that moment in time.
at the moment Now, currently.
The girl is a thief. Both speaker and listener know which girl is being referred to.

•  such used on its own or with a subject:
Such was his reaction. This was the extent of his reaction.
Such is their decision. Their decision is of this nature.
He hasn't read such a good book in years. This is the best book he has read in years.


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