this - that

this - that
This and that are used as determiners or pronouns. The plural form of `this' is these. The plural form of `that' is those. See entries at ↑ this - these and ↑ that - those.
This entry deals with the similarities and differences between the ways in which these words are used.
referring back
This, these, that, and those are all used to refer to people, things, events, etc that have already been mentioned. It is more common to use this and these than that and those.

New machines are of course more expensive and this is something one has to consider.

So, for all these reasons, my advice is to be very, very careful.

You use that or those when you are referring to something for the second time in a sentence, using the same noun.

You haven't shown any interest in the identity of the person who's been poisoned or how ill that person is.

Students and staff suggest books for the library, and normally we're quite happy to get those books.

You usually use that, rather than `this', to refer to a statement that someone has just made.

`She was terribly afraid of offending anyone.' —-`That's right.'

`The cold kills off lots of pests and next summer your crops will be very much better.' —-`Yes, that's a good point.'

present and past
You can use this or that to talk about events or situations.
You use this to refer to a situation that is continuing to exist, or to an event that is continuing to take place.

`My God,' I said, `This is awful.'

I'm sorry to barge in on you like this.

This whole business has gone on too long.

You use that to refer to an event or situation that has taken place recently.

I knew that meeting would be difficult.

That was a terrible air crash last week.

You use this or these to refer to people or things that are very near to you. For example, you use this to refer to an object when you are holding it in your hand, or when it is on a desk or table in front of you.

`What is this?' said a policeman, holding up a canister of shaving cream.

This coffee tastes like tea.

Wait a minute. I just have to sort these books out.

You use that or those to refer to people or things that you can see or hear, but that are not very near to you, so that, for example, you cannot put out your hand and touch them.

Look at that bird!

Can you move those books off there?

When you are comparing two things and one of them is nearer to you than the other, you can use this to refer to the one which is nearer and that to refer to the one which is further away.

This one's nice but I don't like that one much.

This side of the street doesn't get the sun in the afternoon.


Useful english dictionary. 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

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