Skip to main content
University of Newcastle Library guides

Common feedback comments and what they mean: When to use 'this', 'that', 'these' or 'those'

This guide lists some common feedback comments and explains what they mean.

When to use ''this', 'that', 'these' or 'those'

When to use 'this', that', 'these' or 'those'

There are four demonstratives in English that are used to state the distance from the speaker. This and that indicate nearness. These and those indicate distance. The distance can be either psychological or physical.


When do I use ‘this’?
The word ‘this’ is used with a singular noun when referring to an object that is close to the speaker.
•    This bus is parked very close to my car.
•    Is this Jenna’s cat?
•    This is not Casey’s book.


When do I use ‘that’?
The word ’that’ is used with singular nouns when referring to an object or person that is far from the speaker.
•    That cat across the street is very cute.
•    Is that Lucy’s horse across the paddock?
•    That is not Luke’s house.


When do I use ‘these’?
The word ‘these’ is used with plural nouns when referring to an object that is close to the speaker.
•    These cars are parked very close to my driveway.
•    Are these Jenna’s cats?
•    These are not Casey’s books.


When I do use ‘those’?
The word ‘those’ is used with plural nouns when referring to an object or person that is far from the speaker.
•    I really like those cats.
•    Are those Jenna’s friends?
•    Those are not Casey’s sisters.


Remember that these pronouns may stand alone, but they must refer to a noun.  ‘This is the most recent.’ is meaningless unless the reader knows what ‘this’ refers to.

 

 

Pathways and Learning Support

Contact us if you need help

www.newcastle.edu.au/ctl-ld

Students can access

  • Workshops
  • Maths & stats help
  • Online resources
  • Consultations
  • e-Consultations

t: 61 2 4921 5350

e: ld@newcastle.edu.au