In this lesson we look at demonstrative adjectives and pronouns, and the difference between them.
Both demonstrative adjectives and pronouns use this, that, these and those in similar ways. They refer to objects or people that are either near or far away (in time or space) and either singular or plural.
You'll notice that while some of the examples were followed by verbs (e.g. is/are) others were followed by nouns (e.g. pen/students).
This indicates the difference between demonstrative adjectives and demonstrative pronouns. While demonstrative adjectives are used with nouns, demonstrative pronouns stand in place of the noun.
Let's look a bit closer at each.
Demonstrative adjectives are used to say more about, or to modify, nouns or pronouns. They therefore come before the noun/pronoun.
In these examples, the demonstrative adjectives tell us which one—which book, which piece of cake, which people, and which shoes.
So it is this book that's boring (not that book over there).
Take a demonstrative adjectives quiz
A pronoun replaces a noun, so with demonstrative pronouns, they can't precede nouns.
A demonstrative pronoun is used to replace a specific person or thing that has been mentioned before (or alternatively it may be understood from the context without having been previously mentioned).
They are usually used to talk about possession or to describe places, things or animals. Note that the choice of this, that, these and those is still related to whether it is something near or further way. And they are singular or plural so must have the correct subject-verb agreement.
Demonstrative pronouns can also stand alone, unlike adjectives.
As a demonstrative pronoun is used in place of a noun, this means it is used as a subject or an object.
A good way to see the difference between demonstrative adjectives and demonstrative pronouns is to see how they are used in different ways to say the same thing:
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