What Are Demonstrative Pronouns? Examples and Exercises

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Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns are like your language GPS – they help you point out things in the right direction when you’re chatting or writing in English. Let’s explore them step by step!

What Are Demonstrative Pronouns?

Imagine you’re holding a toy, and you want to talk about it without repeating its name over and over. That’s when demonstrative pronouns step in to save the day! These little words like “this,” “that,” “these,” and “those” do the job. They replace the actual names and show us what you’re talking about. Check out this table for a quick overview:

Demonstrative PronounsSingularPlural
ThisThis toyThese toys
ThatThat bookThose books

Demonstrative Pronoun Definition

Demonstrative Pronouns are special words that help us indicate or point to specific things, people, or places without repeating their names.  

List of Demonstrative Pronouns

  • This: Close and singular.
  • That: Far and singular.
  • These: Close and plural.
  • Those: Far and plural.

Demonstrative Pronouns Examples and Usage

Now, let’s get to know these friendly pronouns better.

Demonstrative pronouns show whether the thing you’re talking about is close or far away and whether it’s singular or plural. Let’s take a closer look:

“This” and “These” Demonstrative Pronouns Examples:

  • This (singular): Use it when the thing is close, like when you’re holding the toy.

Imagine you’re holding a cute teddy bear. You’d say, “This teddy bear is adorable.” Here, “this” helps you talk about the teddy bear you’re holding.

  • These (plural): When you’re talking about things that are close together.

Suppose you have a bunch of colorful marbles in your hand. You’d say, “These marbles are shiny.” Here, “these,” tells us you’re talking about the marbles you’re holding, which are close to you.

“That” and “Those” Demonstrative Pronouns Examples:

  • That (singular): If the thing is a bit far, like a book on the table.

Now, if you’re talking about a big tree across the street, you’d say, “That tree is tall.” You’re pointing at the tree from a distance and using “that” to show it’s a bit far away.

  • Those (plural): For things that are farther away from each other.

Imagine you’re at a park and you’re looking at some beautiful flowers far away. You’d say, “Those flowers are lovely.” “Those” lets us know you’re talking about the flowers that are quite a distance away.

Remember, demonstrative pronouns help your listener understand which thing you’re talking about without any confusion. Just pick the right one based on whether the thing is close or far, and whether it’s singular or plural.

Demonstrative Pronouns vs. Demonstrative Adjectives

Demonstrative pronouns can stand alone and save the day by replacing nouns. Demonstrative adjectives, on the other hand, team up with nouns to give them a special touch. Let’s break it down with examples:

Demonstrative Pronouns: These are the solo stars that replace nouns completely. They stand on their own without needing a noun beside them.

  • “I want this.” (The noun is missing, but we know you’re talking about something close.)
  • “She prefers those.” (Again, no noun, but we know it’s something far away.)

Demonstrative Adjectives: These are the supportive pals that come before nouns, adding extra details to them.

  • This book is interesting.” (Here, “this” describes the book that’s close to you.)
  • Those houses are colorful.” (In this case, “those” adds info about the houses that are far away.)

Remember, when you’re using a demonstrative pronoun, you don’t need a noun because the pronoun itself does the job. But when you use a demonstrative adjective, it’s like the adjective is holding hands with a noun to give it more information.

So, in short:

  • Demonstrative Pronouns: Stand alone (no noun needed).
  • Demonstrative Adjectives: Team up with nouns to give them more info.

Demonstrative Pronouns in Conversations

Imagine you’re having a chat with a friend or someone you’ve just met. Demonstrative pronouns can help you be clear and specific about the things you’re talking about. Here are some conversation examples to show how they work:

Example 1: Shopping

Person A: “I found this dress at the mall.”

Person B: “Oh, I like that one you’re holding.”

In this scenario, Person A is talking about a dress they’re holding, so they use “this.” Person B is referring to a dress a bit farther away, so they use “that.”

Example 2: Food Choices

Person A: “I ordered pizza. Want to try this slice?”

Person B: “I prefer those fries instead.”

Person A offers a slice of pizza they have, using “this,” and Person B expresses a preference for fries that are likely on a different plate or container, so they use “those.”

Example 3: Nature Walk

Person A: “Look at these flowers. They’re so colorful!”

Person B: “And over there, I see that butterfly.”

Person A points to flowers nearby using “these,” and Person B spots a butterfly a bit far away and uses “that.”

Demonstrative Pronouns in Written Communication

Just like in spoken conversations, demonstrative pronouns are also super helpful when you’re writing. They add clarity to your text and help your readers visualize what you’re talking about. Here are some examples to showcase their role in written communication:

Example 1: Storytelling

“Amelia stepped into the old library, amazed by the rows of books. She reached for this book on the shelf and began to read.”

In this excerpt, “this” is used to refer to the book Amelia is reaching for, creating a clear picture for the reader.

Example 2: Descriptive Essay

“The bustling market was filled with vibrant stalls. Among them, those handmade crafts caught everyone’s attention.”

Here, “those” is used to point out a specific group of crafts among the various stalls in the market.

Example 3: Informative Article

“When exploring a new city, it’s important to learn about the local culture. Start by tasting these traditional dishes and visiting those historical landmarks.”

In this case, “these” refers to the specific dishes readers should try, and “those” directs readers to the historical landmarks they should visit.

By using demonstrative pronouns in your writing, you make it easier for your readers to follow your ideas and engage with your content. It’s like giving them a virtual tour of the places, objects, or ideas you’re discussing.

Common Mistakes to Avoid with Demonstrative Pronouns

While demonstrative pronouns are quite handy, there are a few common mistakes that learners might make. Let’s highlight these pitfalls and show you how to steer clear of them:

Mistake 1: Mixing Up Singular and Plural Pronouns

It’s easy to get confused between “this” and “these,” or “that” and “those.” Remember that “this” and “that” are for one thing, while “these” and “those” are for more than one.

Incorrect: “I like this apples.”

Correct: “I like these apples.”

Mistake 2: Using the Wrong Pronoun for Distance

Using the wrong pronoun can lead to misunderstandings. Choose “this” or “these” for things close to you, and “that” or “those” for things farther away.

Incorrect: “I want that cookie on the plate.”

Correct: “I want this cookie on the plate.”

Mistake 3: Not Considering Context

Sometimes, the choice of pronoun depends on what you’re talking about. Consider whether the thing you’re mentioning is singular or plural and its proximity to you.

Incorrect: “I want these coffee, please.”

Correct: “I want this coffee, please.”

Mistake 4: Using Demonstrative Pronouns Instead of Nouns

While demonstrative pronouns are great, they can’t replace nouns all the time. Make sure your sentences still make sense when you remove the nouns.

Incorrect: “I love this! It’s so delicious.”

Correct: “I love this cake! It’s so delicious.”

By being mindful of these common mistakes, you’ll be on your way to mastering demonstrative pronouns without any hiccups. Practice and paying attention to the context will help you get the hang of using them correctly.

Demonstrative Pronouns Exercises

Here are some fun and engaging Demonstrative Pronouns Exercises to help you practice using demonstrative pronouns.  

Exercise 1: Pick the Right Pronoun

Read the sentences below and choose the correct demonstrative pronoun (this, that, these, those) to complete each sentence.

  1. I love __________ painting on the wall. It’s so vibrant!
  2. Can you pass me __________ cookies from the jar?
  3. Look at __________ beautiful flowers in the garden.
  4. Are __________ the books you borrowed from the library?
  5. I want to try __________ cake at the bakery.

Exercise 2: Spot the Pronouns in Conversation

Read the conversation and identify the demonstrative pronouns used.

Person A: “I bought this new phone yesterday.”

Person B: “That sounds exciting! Can I see it?”

Exercise 3: Fill in the Blanks

Fill in the blanks with the appropriate demonstrative pronouns (this, that, these, those).

  1. I can’t believe you remember __________ stories from our childhood.
  2. Have you seen __________ adorable puppies at the pet store?
  3. I’m reading __________ novel you recommended, and it’s fantastic.
  4. __________ mountains in the distance are covered in snow.
  5. I need __________ pens for my art project.

Answer Keys

Exercise 1: Pick the Right Pronoun

  1. I love this painting on the wall. It’s so vibrant!
  2. Can you pass me those cookies from the jar?
  3. Look at those beautiful flowers in the garden.
  4. Are these the books you borrowed from the library?
  5. I want to try this cake at the bakery.

Exercise 2: Spot the Pronouns in Conversation

  • Demonstrative pronouns: this, that

Exercise 3: Fill in the Blanks

  1. I can’t believe you remember those stories from our childhood.
  2. Have you seen those adorable puppies at the pet store?
  3. I’m reading that novel you recommended, and it’s fantastic.
  4. Those mountains in the distance are covered in snow.
  5. I need these pens for my art project.

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