Demonstrative Pronouns | Explore Definition, Examples and Exercises

Among the different types of pronouns, demonstrative pronouns can be a little confusing as the same words are also used as demonstrative adjectives. To help you understand how they differ and how to use demonstrative pronouns in sentences, read through the following topics.

What is a Demonstrative Pronoun?

Everyone might be familiar with the word ‘demo’. The word demo is most commonly used as an acronym for demonstration. Demonstration means to indicate, identify, point out, exhibit or explain something to someone. A demonstrative pronoun is used to do the same thing. It demonstrates or represents the nouns that act as the subject or object in a sentence.

Definition of a Demonstrative Pronoun

The Cambridge Dictionary defines demonstrative words as ‘words, for example “this”, “that”, “these”, and “those”, that show which person or thing is being referred to.’ The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as a word that is used for ‘pointing out the one referred to and distinguishing it from others of the same class.’

How to Use Demonstrative Pronouns – Rules and Examples

A demonstrative pronoun is used to represent or identify a person, place, animal or thing. Demonstrative pronouns are used in the singular and plural forms. The only thing that you need to take into account when using demonstrative pronouns is to use verbs that agree with the particular singular or plural form of demonstrative pronouns.

Demonstrative Pronouns

Uses

Examples

Singular

This

Refers to a particular person, place, animal or thing that is closer in time and distance.

  • This is my mom.
  • This is my pet dog.
  • This is my favourite restaurant.
  • This is the book I was looking for.

That

Refers to a particular person, place, animal or thing that is further away in time and distance.

  • That is my student.
  • That is the dog that chases all those who go on two-wheelers.
  • That is the place where you can buy books at a lower cost.
  • That is the box with all the money.

Plural

These

Refers to a number of people, places, animals or things that are closer in time and distance.

  • These are the children who missed their bus.
  • These were the cats that were rescued from the nearest neighbourhood.
  • These are too expensive.
  • These cost a lot less than what I had expected.

Those

Refers to a number of people, places, animals or things that are further away in time and distance.

  • Those are the women who have been waiting at the counter for more than an hour now.
  • Those belong to my neighbour.
  • There are so many birds here, but those are my favourite.
  • The cafes around the corner are a lot more expensive than those down the street.

Demonstrative Pronouns vs Demonstrative Adjectives

Second language learners often confuse demonstrative pronouns and demonstrative adjectives. The only point that you should remember when using demonstrative pronouns and demonstrative adjectives is to identify the function of the words in the sentence. A demonstrative pronoun is used in the place of a noun, and a demonstrative adjective is used to describe and provide more information about the noun.

Demonstrative Pronoun / Demonstrative Adjective

Used as a Demonstrative Pronoun

Used as a Demonstrative Adjective

This

This is the book I read last month.

This city is beautiful.

That

That is the car that hit the little boy.

That dish is delicious.

These

These are my cousins.

These bags are heavy.

Those

The boxes you have are smaller than those.

I know it was hard to make those decisions.

Test Your Knowledge of Demonstrative Pronouns

Rewrite the following sentences by replacing the underlined nouns with appropriate demonstrative pronouns:

1. Bruno is my cousin.

2. I prefer soft drinks to fresh juices.

3. These flowers smell nice.

4. Be careful. That plate is hot.

5. Did you find the cats in there?

Let us find out if you have understood demonstrative pronouns. Check your answers.

1. This is my cousin.

2. I prefer soft drinks to these.

3. These smell nice.

4. Be careful. That is hot.

5. Did you find those in there?

Frequently Asked Questions on Demonstrative Pronouns

What is a demonstrative pronoun?

A demonstrative pronoun is used to point out or represent the nouns that act as the subject or object in a sentence.

What is the definition of a demonstrative pronoun?

The Cambridge Dictionary defines demonstrative words as ‘words, for example “this”, “that”, “these”, and “those”, that show which person or thing is being referred to.’ The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as a word that is used for ‘pointing out the one referred to and distinguishing it from others of the same class.’

What are the examples of demonstrative pronouns?

This, that, these and those are the demonstrative pronouns in the English language.

What is the difference between a demonstrative pronoun and a demonstrative adjective?

The main difference between a demonstrative pronoun and a demonstrative adjective is that they perform two different functions though the same words (this, that, these, those) are used as both. A demonstrative pronoun is used to substitute the noun, and a demonstrative adjective is used to give more information and describe about the noun.

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