All You Need to Know about Demonstrative Adjectives in English

Last Updated on November 28, 2023

Demonstrative adjectives are an integral component of language, serving to indicate the location of a noun or pronoun in relation to the speaker or listener. Understanding demonstrative adjectives can significantly enhance your communication abilities and enable you to convey your thoughts more effectively.

In this article, we will explore what they are, the various types of demonstrative adjectives, their purposes, and how they are utilized in diverse contexts. 

Understanding Demonstrative Adjectives

Demonstrative Adjectives | Image

Demonstrative Adjectives!!! Learn how to use demonstrative adjectives and pronouns in English. When a noun or nouns need to be identified, especially in a spatial or positional context, a demonstrative adjective is used.Pin

Demonstrative adjectives are a special type of adjectives used to point out or identify specific nouns or pronouns in a sentence. These adjectives express the position and the quantity of the noun or pronoun as near or far, in terms of spatial and temporal distance. 

These adjectives can be used to provide more information about the noun they are modifying and make the context of the sentence clearer. For example, when referring to a book on a table, instead of saying “the book is interesting,” we can use a demonstrative adjective to make the reference clearer and more specific: “This book is interesting.” 

In English grammar, thisthatthese, and those are demonstrative adjectives.

For example:

  • This train takes passengers to London.
  • I think that book is mine.
  • These cakes are very quick and easy to make.
  • Let me give you a hand with those bags.

Types of Demonstrative Adjectives

This & That

This and that are used with singular nouns. Singular nouns refer to a single person, place, thing, or idea.

For example:

  • this apple
  • that table

This is used with someone or something near the speaker.

For example:

  • This car is cheap.
  • This dog bit me. 

That is used with someone or something far from the speaker.

For example:

  • That man irritates me!
  • That car parks here every day. 

These & Those

These and those are used with plural nouns. Plural nouns refer to more than one person, place, thing, or idea.

For example:

  • These boys
  • Those books

These to indicate someone or something near the speaker.

For example:

  • These shoes need to be repaired.
  • These books are good, but those books are not good. 

Those to indicate someone or something far from the speaker.

For example:

  • Do you need any help with those boxes?
  • Those shoes are more comfortable than these ones. 

Considerations When Using Demonstrative Adjectives

Using demonstrative adjectives correctly is crucial for clear communication. Here are a few guidelines to follow:

  1. Proximity: Use this and these for objects or people that are near, while that and those for objects or people that are farther away.
  2. Time: Demonstrative adjectives can also describe time. For example, this week refers to the current week, while that week refers to a different one.
  3. Clarity: Use demonstrative adjectives to distinguish between multiple objects or people in a conversation.

Demonstrative Adjectives vs. Demonstrative Pronouns

While both serve similar purposes – understanding distinctions between them proves incredibly important for correctly using either in spoken/written language!

In English grammar, the demonstrative pronouns are also thisthatthese, and those. However, they do not modify nouns or pronouns as demonstrative adjectives

Demonstrative adjectives modify a noun by indicating which one is being referred to. They come before the noun and provide information about the location of the noun in relation to the speaker and the listener. 

Demonstrative pronouns stand alone and replace a noun. They function as the subject or object of a sentence and do not modify a noun.

For example:

  • This is a course in mechanics.
  • That‘s a nice dress.
  • These are great shoes for muddy weather.
  • I’m not joking. Those were his actual words.

In the examples above, this, that, these, and those function as the subjects of a sentence, and they do not go with any noun to modify it. 

Common Errors with Demonstrative Adjectives

Confusion Between Singular and Plural Forms

One common error encountered with demonstrative adjectives is the confusion between singular and plural forms. Demonstrative adjectives are used to point out specific people or objects, and they come in four forms: thisthatthese, and those. It is crucial to use the correct form to maintain clarity in the sentence. For example:

  • Correct: I like this book.
  • Incorrect: I like these book.

Using Incorrect Demonstrative Adjectives with Uncountable Nouns

Another mistake is using demonstrative adjectives incorrectly with uncountable nouns. Uncountable nouns refer to things that cannot be counted, such as water, air, or information. When using demonstrative adjectives with uncountable nouns, it is important to use this or that rather than these or those:

  • Correct: This information is helpful.
  • Incorrect: These information is helpful.

Confusing Demonstrative Adjectives with Demonstrative Pronouns

Additionally, some individuals may mix up demonstrative adjectives and pronouns. Remember that demonstrative adjectives always modify a noun, whereas demonstrative pronouns replace a noun. For instance:

  • Adjective: This book is mine.
  • Pronoun: This is mine.

To avoid confusion between adjectives and pronouns, always ensure there is a noun following a demonstrative adjective. By doing so, the distinction between the two becomes clear, and the sentence maintains coherence.

Practice Problems with Demonstrative Adjectives

First, let’s review the rules:

  • This and these refer to objects or people close to the speaker.
  • That and those refer to objects or people further away from the speaker.

Now, let’s try some practice problems. Identify the correct demonstrative adjective for each sentence:

  1. ___ car is mine. (The car is close to the speaker)
  2. ___ books are yours. (The books are far from the speaker)

Answer:

  1. This car is mine.
  2. Those books are yours.

To further hone your understanding, try the exercise below. Fill in the blanks with the appropriate demonstrative adjective:

  1. ___ shirt is mine, and ___ one is yours. (The first shirt is close to the speaker, while the second one is farther away)
  2. ___ glasses are mine, but ___ ones are hers. (The first set of glasses is close to the speaker, and the second set is farther away)

Answer:

  1. This shirt is mine, and that one is yours.
  2. These glasses are mine, but those ones are hers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common examples of demonstrative adjectives in sentences?

Demonstrative adjectives are used to indicate specific nouns and their distance from the speaker or writer. Some common examples include:

  1. This table goes well with the furniture inside the nursery.
  2. I remember Rissa having the same problem with those documents as well.
  3. What’s wrong with that boy over there? He looks about ready to faint.
  4. We should go to that store because they have a bigger parking lot.

How do demonstrative adjectives differ from demonstrative pronouns?

Demonstrative adjectives and demonstrative pronouns both indicate specific nouns based on their relative positions. The key difference is that demonstrative adjectives modify a noun (e.g., “this hat”), while demonstrative pronouns replace a noun (e.g., “this is mine”).

How do you use demonstrative adjectives correctly in grammar?

To use demonstrative adjectives correctly, ensure they come before the noun they are modifying and match the noun in number and distance. Common demonstrative adjectives include this, that, these, and those. Use “this” and “these” for close objects, and “that” and “those” for distant objects.

What is the role of an interrogative adjective?

Interrogative adjectives are used to ask questions about nouns. They typically precede the noun they modify and may also be accompanied by an interrogative pronoun, such as “which” or “what.” For example, “Which book do you prefer?” or “What color is the car?”

How can I practice using demonstrative adjectives effectively?

To practice using demonstrative adjectives effectively, try creating sentences that focus on describing objects based on their position relative to the speaker or writer. You can also practice by identifying demonstrative adjectives in everyday speech and writing, as well as completing grammar exercises focused on this topic.

Which languages have similar structures for demonstrative adjectives?

Many languages, including Spanish, French, and Italian, have demonstrative adjectives with similar functions and structures. These languages typically have equivalents for “this,” “that,” “these,” and “those” and follow similar rules for their usage.

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