Determiners include demonstratives which are thisthatthese, and those. As determiners, this and that come before singular nouns, and these and those being plurals of this and that respectively are used in front of plural nouns.

Demonstratives this and that are used with singular nouns, while these and those are used with plural nouns.

Examples:

  • This colour is not found in the rainbow.
  • That hill was shaped almost like a human head.
  • These footprints are left by a three-toed creature.
  • They were trying to hatch those dinosaur eggs.

 

Demonstratives this and these are used to indicate specific person/people, thing/things, etc. that is/are close to the speaker, and that and those show that it/they is/are not near to the speaker.

Examples:

  • Look at this photo of Nessie.
  • I will ask that policeman the way to the police station.
  • Listen to these voices and tell me whose.
  • Those strange noises came from the roof.

 

Nouns need not follow these determiners if the meaning is understood.

Examples:

  • Whose is this?
  • Don’t touch these.
  • Everybody, look at that.
  • Those are not mine.

 

The determiners can also come before a number when the noun is understood.

Examples:

  • This one smells the same as that one.
  • These two are bigger than those three.

 

If there is an adjective modifying a noun, the demonstrative comes before the adjective.

Examples:

  • This ugly scar is caused by an operation.
  • That big turkey makes a funny gobbling sound.
  • These edible snails are our favourite.
  • Those old blankets are full of holes.

 

The words – this, that, these, those – besides being determiners, are also used as pronouns. One good way to distinguish between them is that a determiner, unlike a pronoun, comes before a noun.

Determiner Pronoun
This potato is still hot. This is a hot potato.
That duckling is ugly. That is a very ugly duckling.
These apples are rotten. These are rotten apples.
Those dark clouds are gathering overhead. Those are dark clouds gathering overhead.