Demonstrative Pronouns‏‎ in English Grammar

Parts Of Speech

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:


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.

Image © Alex Abian

Related Articles

6 Tips to Make your ESL Classes More Effective

Teaching is undeniably a challenging job, in fact many consider it one of the most difficult careers you could choose. Nevertheless, being a teacher is an enriching experience. Through quality education and effective teaching methodologies,...

read more

ICAL TEFL Resources

The ICAL TEFL site has thousands of pages of free TEFL resources for teachers and students. These include: The TEFL ICAL Grammar Guide. Country Guides for teaching around the world. How to find TEFL jobs. How to teach English. TEFL Lesson Plans....

read more