Demonstrative Pronouns‏‎ in English Grammar

A girl pointing on the beach.A demonstrative pronoun is a pronoun used in place of a noun to demonstrate (= show; indicate; point) where something or somebody is in reference to the speaker.

There are four demonstrative pronouns in the English language:

this
these
that
those

For example:

Did you see this?

My mum likes these better.

What is that over there?

She never reads those.

A good way to think about demonstrative pronouns is to imagine pointing at the subject!

Types of Demonstrative Pronouns

Simply put, these are the differences between the 4 different demonstrative pronouns.

Singular: this, that
Plural: these, those
Near: this, these
Far: that, those

Demonstrative Pronoun or Demonstrative Adjective?

Although demonstrative pronouns and demonstrative adjectives‏‎ look exactly the same, their function is different.

  • A demonstrative pronoun is used instead of a noun.
  • A demonstrative adjective is used to modify a noun.

So in this example the demonstrative pronoun that replaces a noun:

Did you see the sudden flash of lightening over the valley?

Did you see that?

Meanwhile, a demonstrative adjective modifies the noun and distinguishes it from many others:

Did you see the man who was wearing a bright yellow suit at the funeral?

Did you see that man?

So demonstrative pronouns replace a noun and end a clause or sentence while demonstrative adjectives come before a noun or noun phrase.

See also, Demonstrative Adjectives‏‎.

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