Monday Morning Grammar: Pronouns Part XIII—Demonstrative

This, that, these, and those are demonstrative pronouns—or, if you want to get fancy about it, deictic pronouns—that identify or point directly to their antecedents.

This and that are used for singular antecedents:

This is my professional blog about “finding the right words.”

That is my personal blog about staycationing in Los Angeles.

These and those are used for plural antecedents:

These are posts about writing and editing.

Those are posts about getting out and being a tourist in my hometown.

In all of the examples given so far, the demonstrative pronoun has functioned like a noun equivalent in the sentence, but demonstrative pronouns often work as adjectives:

I have been posting to this blog for over a year.

I just started that blog last month.

This and these refer to things that are nearby, whether in time, space, or thought, while these and those refer to things that are farther away.

The antecedent for a demonstrative pronoun can be a noun, phrase, clause, sentence, or implied thought, as long as it’s clear.

Kinda Sorta

Kind of and sort of, when use to mean “a class of,” are often used with adjectival forms of demonstrative pronouns:

This kind of professional blog helps me learn more about my craft while connecting me with other writers and editors.

Those sorts of personal blogs provide structure to my free time while giving me another outlet for creative writing.

Do you have a question about pronouns? Let me know, and I’ll include it in a future installment of Mots Justes’ ongoing series.

The Mots Justes Series on Pronouns

Part I—The Basics

Part II—Location, Location, Location

Part III—Number

Part IV—Person

Part V—Gender, Plus “They” as a Gender-Neutral Singular Pronoun

Part VI—On the Case

Part VII—Something Personal Between You and Me

Part VIII—Infinitives

Part IX—Indeterminate Gender

Part X—Indefinitely (We, You, and They)

Part XI—Indefinitely (It)

Part XII—Possession

Resources

Chicago Manual of Style, The. 15th ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Hacker, Diana, The Bedford Handbook for Writers, 3rd ed. Boston: St. Martin’s Press: 1991.

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