Demonstrative Pronoun:

Demonstrative pronouns are pointing pronouns. At times, we feel the need to point towards a noun in the space domain to show its direction or position. And sometimes we want to emphasis an already mentioned noun. In these cases, we use demonstrative pronouns.

As per their name, demonstrate means to indicate, they indicate or point at a determined noun.

There are only four demonstrative pronouns: This, That, These, Those.

SINGULAR PLURAL

NEAR

This
These

FAR

That
Those

Usage of demonstrative pronouns depend on the spatial relationship of the speaker with the noun and the number of the noun. This and These are used for closer spatial distance (near) and That and Those are used for distant spatial distance (far).

Also, This and That are used for singular nouns and These and Those are used for plural nouns.

Examples:

  • This is quite an interesting book. (speaker is pointing towards a ‘book’ while talking about it, so as to distinguish it from the others.)

  • This is quite an interesting book but that one is my favorite book. (Here two books are referred to. One is closer in proximity to the speaker and so this is used for it. The other has more spatial distance from the speaker thus that is used for it.)

  • Are those the files you were looking for? (here the noun ‘files’ is plural thus those is used. Also, those gives a sense of being far.)

  • These are the skills we are looking for in the candidates. (speaker is specifying some particular ‘skills’ which is a plural noun. )

Ø Demonstrative Pronouns used for TIME

Similar to their use in spatial context, demonstrative pronouns can also be used for time indication. Where, This and These are used to indicate recent time and That and Those is used to indicate a distant time.

We usually use these four demonstrative pronouns in this manner to point towards a distinct time. Let us look at some examples to understand this better.

Examples:

  • This is the month of festivals for the Hindus. (here speaker is referring to the current month)
  • Those were the days when radio was like a family member to everyone. (here a distant time is referred, a long ago time)
  • My mother always says these are the moments I will cherish. (some recent moments are being talked about)
  • When I make my parents proud, that will be the day I will call myself successful. (here a day of far future is quoted)
  • That was the minute when I realized my mistake. (a distant past is quoted)

Ø Demonstrative Pronouns versus Demonstrative Adjectives

This, That, These and Those are both demonstrative pronouns and demonstrative adjectives. So now the question is when they are pronouns and when adjectives. This is a quite confusing question to answer in grammar.

To answer this question, we must know the properties of both pronouns and adjectives.

Pronouns are known to replace nouns to reduce repetition. Thus, they take the position of a noun in a sentence. Pronouns are usually either subject or object in a sentence.

While adjectives are known to modify or qualify nouns. They are positioned just before the noun they modify. They follow the structure adjective + noun.

Similarly, demonstrative pronouns replace a noun and are either subject or object in a sentence, while demonstrative adjectives modify a noun and are placed right before that noun. Now let us look at some examples:

Examples:

  • This is the magazine I ordered for myself yesterday. (Possessive Pronoun)
  • I bought myself this magazine (Possessive Adjective)

  • That was the time when Michael Jackson was the God of music. (Possessive Pronoun)
  • Michael Jackson was the God of music at that time. (Possessive Adjective)

  • My mother always says that these are the moments I will cherish. (Possessive Pronoun)
  • My mother always says I will cherish these moments. (Possessive Adjective)

  • Those are my pet dogs. (Possessive Pronoun)
  • Those dogs are my pet. (Possessive Adjective)

In each of the above examples, you will see, in the first sentence nouns are replaced with the help of demonstrative pronouns and they are the subject of the sentence. In the second sentence this, that, these and those are placed right before the nouns. And they are modifying the nouns. Thus, they are demonstrative adjectives in the second sentence of each example.

#KEY-NOTES:
  • Demonstrative pronouns point or emphasize an already mentioned noun in order to reduce repetition.
  • There are only four demonstrative pronouns: This, That, These and Those.
  • Singular demonstrative pronouns: This, That
  • Plural demonstrative pronoun: These, Those
  • This and These are used for closer spatial distance (near) and That and Those are used for distant spatial distance (far).
  • This, That, These and Those are both demonstrative pronouns and demonstrative adjectives.
  • When used in place of a noun as a subject or object, they are pronouns and when used right before a noun as a modifier then they are adjectives.
#SUMMARY:
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