tricky points of English grammar
This, that, the one
1. Demonstrative pronouns
1.1. There are four demonstrative pronouns in English, two in the
and two in the
plural; they indicate either proximity (this, these), or
It is important to understand what is meant by proximity and distance.
The notion of proximity
can be grammatical
something close in the sentence), spatial
(something close to
the speaker) or temporal
(close in time).
is her car, and
don't like these
front of me)
but I do like those
car has broken down, and it's snowing. This
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 other prepositions. See possessive
We cannot say Peter's
those, nor His
that nor blue these;
we have to say Those
or that one
of his, or
these blue ones.
structures: the demonstrative pronoun followed by "of"
First note this important rule: This and these
are never followed by of:
possessive structures, usage depends whether we are dealing with
attribution or possession:
apple was ripe, this of my sister was not.
The only normal structure with
demonstrative pronouns is to use that
of or those
reputation was bigger than
Japan’s development was rapid, that
was even faster.
title of his first book was “Blue Waves”, that of
the second was “Deep
The most common structure, particularly in spoken English,
is to use .....’s (one(s)).
of / those of
tend to be only used in formal
contexts, particularly written
My books are new, John’s
books are new, those of John are old
Our shirts are white: the
other team’s ones are
first tourist's papers were
in order, but those
of the remaining tourists were not.
Demonstrative Pronoun phrases:
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).
paintings: I prefer those / those
ones on the left.
book is mine,
but that one on
the table is yours.
- We cannot say:
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.
(these) and that (those) can also be
used as demonstrative
adjectives: the same principles of proximity and distance
- This book
is mine, that book
- These students
come from Paraguay.
- I really like those
new trains they're using now.
is sometimes used as a pro-form, to avoid repeating a noun.
is mine, that
or even (if the context
makes it quite clear what is being referred to)
is mine, that one is
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