1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email




The four demonstratives in English


A determiner that points to a particular noun or to the noun it replaces. There are four demonstratives in English: the "near" demonstratives this and these, and the "far" demonstratives that and those.

A demonstrative pronoun distinguishes its antecedent from similar things. When a demonstrative precedes a noun, it is sometimes called a demonstrative adjective.


From the Latin, "show, warn"

Examples and Observations:

  • "In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri."
    (Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 1979)

  • "Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand."
    (Kurt Vonnegut)

  • "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure."
    (Mark Twain)

  • "Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest."
    (Mark Twain)

  • "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them . . . well, I have others."
    (Groucho Marx)

  • "Lord, what fools these mortals be!"
    (William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, III.ii)

  • "Like other determiner classes, the demonstrative pronoun must replace or stand for a clearly stated antecedent. In the following example, that does not refer to 'solar energy'; it has no clear antecedent:
    Our contractor is obviously skeptical about solar energy. That doesn't surprise me.
    Such sentences are not uncommon in speech, nor are they ungrammatical. But when a this or that has no specific antecedent, the writer can usually improve the sentence by providing a noun headword for the demonstrative pronoun--by turning the pronoun into a determiner:
    Our contractor is obviously skeptical about solar energy. That attitude (or His attitude) doesn't surprise me.
    A combination of the two sentences would also be an improvement over the vague use of that."
    (Martha Kolln, Understanding English Grammar. Allyn & Bacon, 1998)
Pronunciation: di-MONS-tra-tif
Also Known As: demonstrative determiner

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.