The demonstrative pronouns questo and quello

Reminder: questo (this) and quello (that) work like adjectives if a noun follows them, so their ending changes to match the gender and number of the noun.

Ti è piaciuto di più questo tiramisù o quella crostata?

Did you prefer this tiramisù or that pie?

Questo (this) and quello (that) can also be used as pronouns to replace something that has already been mentioned or is about to be mentioned. Which one you use depends on distance and time. 

– Cos’è questa? – È una lettera di Betty.

– What is this? – It's a letter from Betty.

– Passami il giornale, per favore. – Quale? Questo o quello sulla scrivania?

– Pass me the newspaper please. – Which one? This one or that one on the desk?

Questo (this) and quello (that) can be replaced by ciò (that, this, what).

Cosa intendi con ciò (= questo)?

What do you mean by this?

Ciò (= quello) che pensi non mi interessa.

What you think doesn't matter to me (more literally: “that which you think”).

Questo (this) can be followed by qui/qua (here) when talking about something nearby, and quello (that) can be followed by lì/là (there) when talking about something farther away. 

Questo qui è il dolce che ho preparato.

This dessert here is the one I made.

Quello è un gabbiano.

That over there is a seagull.

Note: using questo/quello (this/that) along with qui/qua (here) or lì/là (there) to refer to a person is quite rude!

Chi è quello ?

Who's that guy over there?

Questo qui cosa vuole da noi?  – Non lo so, mi sembra un tipo losco.

– What does this guy want from us? – I don't know, he seems shady.



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