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 Demonstrative pronouns and adjectives

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The tricky points of English grammar

Demonstratives:
This, that, the one

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1. Demonstrative pronouns :

1.1. There are four demonstrative pronouns in English, two in the singular, and two in the plural; they indicate either proximity (this, these), or distance (that, those).

Proximity Distance
Singular This That
Plural These Those

It is important to understand what is meant by proximity and distance. The notion of proximity can be grammatical (referring to something close in the sentence), spatial (something close to the speaker) or temporal (close in time).
Examples:
  • This is her car, and that (further away) is mine.
  • I don't like these (in front of me) but I do like those (further away)
  • Our car has broken down, and it's snowing. This (the situation in which we find ourselves) is not a good situation.
  • He wrote about many places, including some small Greek islands; these (direct antecedent in the sentence) , he said, were his favourite places.
  • That (= what you have just said) is not a very intelligent idea.

1.2. Demonstrative pronouns cannot be preceded by adjectives nor by possessives, but  that and those can be followed by prepositional phrases starting with of or in or other prepositions. See possessive structures below.
   We cannot say Peter's those, nor  His that  nor  blue these; we have to say Those of Peter, or that one of his, or these blue ones.


1.3. Possessive structures:  the demonstrative pronoun followed by "of"

► First note this important rule: This and these are never followed by of:
For example, we can not say:
    My apple was ripe, this of my sister was not.
In possessive structures, usage depends whether we are dealing with attribution or possession:

With attribution
The only normal structure with demonstrative pronouns is to use that of or those of:
His reputation was bigger than that of Elvis.
While Japan’s development was rapid, that of Singapore was even faster.
The title of his first book was “Blue Waves”, that of the second was “Deep Oceans”.
With possession
The most common structure, particularly in spoken English, is to use .....’s (one(s)).
For example:
My books are new, John’s (ones) are old.
    Not: My books are new, those of John are old
Our shirts are white: the other team’s ones are red.
That of / those of tend to be only used in formal contexts, particularly written English:
The first tourist's papers were in order, but those of the remaining tourists were not.

1.4. Demonstrative Pronoun phrases:  

Demonstative pronouns (most commonly  those) can be the headwords of pronoun phrases,  followed by various prepositions or by a relative clause.
 
In Demonstrative pronoun phrases, the singular demonstrative pronouns that and this must normally be reinforced by the addition of  one to become this one or that one.
This is also possible for these ones or those ones (but the one is not essential).
  • Look at those paintings: I prefer those / those ones on the left.
  • This book is mine, but that one on the table is yours.
  • We cannot say: This book is mine, but that on the table is yours.
  • All those in favour, raise your hand.
  • I like these with the strong peppermint flavour.
  • Take as many as you want; those that are still here tonight will be destroyed.
  • Those who have finished their project can go home.
  • All those who want to help should be here tomorrow morning at nine.
  • Look at these that I made yesterday.

Demonstrative adjectives:

► This (these) and that (those) can also be used as demonstrative adjectives: the same principles of proximity and distance apply.
Examples:
  • This book is mine, that book is yours.
  • These students come from Paraguay.
  • I really  like those new trains they're using now.

“One”
is sometimes used as a pro-form, to avoid repeating a noun.
This book is mine, that one is yours
or even (if the context makes it quite clear what is being referred to)
    This one is mine, that one is yours.


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