Demonstratives: Demonstrative Pronouns and Demonstrative Adjectives

Understanding Demonstrative Pronouns and Adjectives

Introduction to Demonstratives

In the English language, demonstratives are words that help us demonstrate or point out specific people, places, or things. Demonstratives can be used as pronouns or adjectives, depending on how they are used in a sentence. They provide clarity and specificity in communication.

Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns stand in the place of a noun and point to a specific item. There are four demonstrative pronouns: this, that, these, and those. Let’s explore each one in more detail:

  • This is used to refer to singular items that are close to the speaker.
  • That is used to refer to singular items that are farther away from the speaker.
  • These is used to refer to plural items that are close to the speaker.
  • Those is used to refer to plural items that are farther away from the speaker.

Demonstrative Adjectives

Demonstrative adjectives are words that modify a noun by pointing out which specific person, place, or thing is being referred to. They come before a noun and agree in number with the noun they modify. The same words (this, that, these, and those) can be used as demonstrative adjectives.

Examples of Demonstratives in Action

Example 1: Demonstrative Pronouns

  • This is my favorite book. (This replaces the noun “book” and points to a specific item.)
  • Can you pass me that pen? (That replaces the noun “pen.”)

Example 2: Demonstrative Adjectives

  • I prefer these shoes over the others. (These describes the noun “shoes.”)
  • Look at those clouds in the sky. (Those describes the noun “clouds.”)

Using Demonstratives in Context

Using Demonstrative Pronouns

  • This: This is my phone. (This refers to the phone near the speaker.)
  • That: That is the tallest building in the city. (That refers to a distant building.)

Using Demonstrative Adjectives

  • These: These cookies are delicious. (These describes the cookies.)
  • Those: Can you hand me those pencils? (Those describes the pencils.)

Practice Time: Identify the Demonstratives

Now, let’s practice identifying demonstratives in sentences. Determine whether the demonstrative is being used as a pronoun or an adjective in each sentence.

  1. This is my dog.
  2. Can you hand me that book?
  3. These are my friends.
  4. Look at those birds in the sky.


Demonstratives play a crucial role in language by helping us be specific in our communication. Whether as pronouns or adjectives, demonstratives guide us in pointing out particular items and ensuring clarity in our conversations. Remember to use this, that, these, and those appropriately to enhance your language skills and express yourself effectively.

Additional Examples of Demonstratives

Let’s dive deeper into more examples of demonstratives to strengthen our understanding of how these words function in sentences.

Additional Examples of Demonstrative Pronouns

  1. This is the best day of my life.
  2. I can’t believe that happened.
  3. Do you see these flowers blooming?
  4. Look at those stars in the night sky.

Additional Examples of Demonstrative Adjectives

  1. I need to buy this dress for the party.
  2. Have you seen that movie yet?
  3. These cookies are freshly baked.
  4. I love the color of those shoes.

Mixed Examples of Demonstratives

  1. This is the song I was talking about. (This – demonstrative pronoun)
  2. Can you pass me that bowl, please? (That – demonstrative adjective)
  3. These are the keys to the house. (These – demonstrative pronoun)
  4. Look at those mountains in the distance. (Those – demonstrative adjective)

By exploring these additional examples, you can see how demonstratives play a fundamental role in specifying and highlighting particular items in our conversations and written expressions.

Rules and Guidelines for Using Demonstratives Correctly

When using demonstratives in writing, it’s essential to follow certain rules and guidelines to ensure clarity and accuracy in communication. Let’s explore some key rules for using demonstratives effectively:

1. Agreement in Number

  • Demonstrative Pronouns: Ensure that the demonstrative pronoun agrees in number with the noun it replaces. Use this for singular items close to the speaker, that for singular items farther away, these for plural items near the speaker, and those for plural items farther away.Example: “I love these cookies.” (plural demonstrative pronoun matching the plural noun “cookies”)
  • Demonstrative Adjectives: Like demonstrative pronouns, demonstrative adjectives should agree in number with the noun they modify. Place the demonstrative adjective before the noun it describes.Example: “Look at that car.” (singular demonstrative adjective describing the singular noun “car”)

2. Clarity and Specificity

  • Use demonstratives to point out specific people, places, or things in your writing. This helps avoid ambiguity and ensures that your message is clear to the reader.

3. Placement in Sentences

  • Demonstrative Pronouns: Demonstrative pronouns typically stand alone in a sentence, replacing the noun they refer to.Example: “This is amazing.” (demonstrative pronoun standing alone)
  • Demonstrative Adjectives: Demonstrative adjectives come before the noun they modify, providing additional information about the specific item.Example: “I want to buy that dress.” (demonstrative adjective preceding the noun “dress”)

4. Contextual Understanding

  • Consider the context of your writing when using demonstratives. Ensure that the reader can easily identify the item being referred to based on the surrounding information.

By adhering to these rules and guidelines, you can effectively incorporate demonstratives into your writing to enhance clarity and precision in your communication.

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