Difference between These and Those

By: | Updated: Nov-12, 2021
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“I will have these/those delivered tomorrow.”

Whether you use “these” or “those,” this sentence would still be grammatically correct. However, it is important to note that the two words are used differently and are not interchangeable. So what’s the difference between the two? This article will discuss the difference between “these” and “those.”

Summary Table

These Those
Plural form of “this” Plural form of “that”
Used when the speaker is talking about things or persons near him Used when the speaker is talking about things or persons far from him
Used to talk about things the speaker feels positive about Used when the speaker is talking about things that he does not approve of
Used to introduce people in real life and in a narrative Used to refer to the second group of things or persons (when there are two groups of objects next to each other) the speaker is talking about

Descriptions

writing in a notepad

The word these is the plural of “this.” It is used:

  • When the object (people or things) is plural and is near the speaker physically; for example: These are my new calligraphy pens. (The speaker is holding the pens.)
  • To introduce people to other people; for example: Hi, Dad. These are my new teammates, Ronnie, Betty, and Kevin.
  • When talking about things that the speaker feels positive about or the things that are emotionally close to the speaker; for example: I love these mats made of recycled plastic!
  • When talking about something that recently happened or to introduce a person or thing in a narrative; for example: Yesterday, these so-called insurance representatives forced me to sign some fraudulent documents.

On the other hand, the word those is the plural of “that.” It is used:

Difference between a Bobcat and a M... x
Difference between a Bobcat and a Mountain Lion
  • When the object (people or things) is plural and is away from the speaker; for example: Look at those hot air balloons! They are so far up in the air they look so tiny!
  • When the speaker is talking about are two groups of things next to each other, the second group can be referred to as “those” although both groups are the near the speaker; for example: These Danish cookies are all mine, and those cheap candies are yours.
  • When talking about things that the speaker does not approve of or things that the speaker does not feel positive about; for example: Ugh! I saw her designs yesterday. Gosh, I hate those awful leatherette blouses!

These vs Those

What, then, is the difference between these and those?

“These” is the plural form of “this” whereas “those” is the plural form of “that.”

The biggest difference between the two is that “these” is used when the speaker talking about things or persons near him or things that he feels positive about. “Those” is used when the speaker is talking about things or persons far from him or things that he does not approve of.

Additionally, “these” is used when introducing people to other people. It is also used to introduce persons or things in a narrative. On the other hand, “those” can also be used to refer to the second group of persons or things (when the speaker is talking about two groups) the speaker is talking about even if both groups are near him.

To easily remember this, keep in mind that: “these are here, those are there.”

These, those as determiners

If you were to look at the sentence structure of English, you would notice that it uses words like “these” and “those” as determiners. For example: There are two types of these , they are hard and soft .

A “determiner” is a category consisting of nouns that are directly modified by one or more other nouns. Determiners include pronouns, numerals, demonstratives determiners, adjectives, and other category members. For example:

(1) These = these are those people = these are the people who will come here.

(2) Those = those are those guys who did this = those are the guys who did this thing.

Note: In each case, the noun in question is either directly modified by another noun or indirectly modified by another noun through an intervening preposition or adverb. If a determiner modifies a noun directly, then it must appear in a phrase which includes the noun.

If a determiner modifies a noun indirectly, then it may appear in a phrase which does not include the noun. As can be seen from (1) and (2), the first word is modified by the second word, which is itself modified by another noun.

These, those as pronouns

These is a pronoun used to refer to persons or things already mentioned in the preceding clause. They is used to refer to persons or things not mentioned before. In addition, they is used as a plural noun. In English, this form of the pronoun is more common than the other forms.

Example:

Those are the only people I have met from my village in Pakistan.

Those are nice houses that we have seen today.

The villagers who live around here know how important it is for children to get their basic education. These students whose parents work very hard for their education deserve all our support.

These and those: uses to refer physical closeness

In english grammar, we use these to refer to people and things that are close to the speakers.

Example:

Do these books belong to the students?

(It’s happening right now and the speaker is pointing to the books).

Why are these snacks here?

In contrast, english speakers use those to address things and people that are more distant from the speaker and sometimes closer to the listener.

Example:

How much are those socks?

Can you help to get those glasses?

Could you help me to throw wash those dishes? I am late for meeting.

These and those: uses to refer emotional distance

In both American English and British English, we use these and those to refer to emotional distance. We use those to address the existing emotional distance. However, these are used to address positive feelings about the things or people the speakers talk about.

Example:

I don’t like the food. It has those unsavory blend of spices.

I love these pretty flowers that you buy for your mother.

I like these new books that my mom just got from her friends.

These and those: uses to refer shared knowledge

These and those are sometimes used to address the shared information between two speakers.

Example:

You know those students in class A? They just won another science competition.

Those shops next to our college currently offer 50% discounts.

I doubt that those climate change prevention programs they proposed will make any differences.

The teacher gave tips about countable and uncountable nouns earlier. Do you remember those specific things about how to determine nouns easily?

Substitution with those

In academic writing, we can use those to substitute the ones.

Examples:

The recent posts on our school’s linguistics blog talked about 10 tips for learning english easily. The methods suggested are those captivating to students.

Those in “those captivating” is used to replace the ones captivating.

Writing tips

The form these or those has a negative connotation and it should be avoided for esl learners in both formal writing and informal conversations. In formal writing, these can be replaced by who, whom or whose if it can be avoided without affecting the meaning of the sentence.

Instead of using this form of pronoun in your sentences, you can use he/she/it or some other similar pronouns which do not have a negative connotation and which sound natural when referring to people who are not mentioned before in your sentences by using this form of pronoun.

Example sentences – Best Day of My Life

Human life is filled with different experiences, both good and bad. These experiences are called life moments. There are some people who are able to say what is the best day of their life, but others are not able to do so. Why do some people have good memories while others don’t? What makes a day memorable?

For the last week, I have been experiencing the most wonderful time of my life. I have never felt so happy in my entire life. I have never felt anything like these before.

When was the best day of your life? It’s not the day you were born, or even those days you fell in love. It’s not the moment you took those first steps, or the day you saw those rainbows. It’s not even when you learned to talk in English language.

It’s the day that mattered most to you. It was the day that changed everything about who you are, and how it made you feel about yourself and those around you.

It was a time when your world shifted from being only about yourself to being about someone else as well — a person who matters more than anything else in this world. And that person was also yours.

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