As you watch the video, look at the examples of this, that, these and those. They are in red in the subtitles. Then read the conversation below to learn more. Finally, do the grammar exercises to check you understand, and can use, this, that, these and those correctly.
We use this/that/these/those to explain what we are talking about. We sometimes use them with nouns and we sometimes use them on their own.
We use this (singular) and these (plural) to talk about things close to us, and that (singular) and those (plural) to talk about things at some distance away from us.
What about this shirt for Oliver?
No, hold on, what about that one over there?
So this is the idea of here and that is the idea of there?
Wow, that market looks amazing. (= there. I'm not in the market, it's at some distance away from me)
This market is amazing. (= here. I'm in the market)
What about time? How does time affect this or that?
A good question. We use that to show distance in time as well as distance in space.
This is a good film. (we're watching it now)
That was a good film. (we saw it at some time in the past)
Are this/these and that/those always used with nouns?
No, we can use them as pronouns, without nouns, when it's obvious what they refer to.
What do you think about these for your Uncle Bob? (pointing to trousers)
I've never seen Uncle Bob in trousers like those. (those trousers, but we don't need to repeat trousers)
Who was that?
So they are useful words in shops or cafes. If you don't know the word for something, you can just say, 'Can I see that?' or 'I'd like those, please' and point.
Yes, they're very useful words!
I think I've heard this and that refer to more general things too, not just specific things.
That's right. This and that can refer to what somebody has said or what has happened. This could be several things or ideas.
That's right. (everything you said)
This is work you know! (all the things I'm doing)
That was a great concert! (something that has just happened)
What about phone language? How do people use this and that?
When you explain who is talking you say, 'Hi, this is Dan.'
And to check who is speaking, you can say, 'Is that Jenny?'
Can I say 'This is me'?
No. If you're phoning someone you know very well, you'd say 'It's me.'
What about introducing people to each other? Do I use this or that?
When you're introducing one person to another person, you say, 'Juliette, this is Marc'.
OK, thanks. That's all for now!
Worksheets and downloads
Sophie: Darling, hi, it’s me.
Daisy: Hi, Mum.
Sophie: Listen, I’m in a bit of a hurry, but can you help me for a minute?
Daisy: Ummm ... yeah.
Sophie: Well, I’m doing a bit of Christmas shopping and I want your advice. Look. I’m here in the market. Wait a second, I’ll put my video on, OK? Listen, what do you think about these for your Uncle Bob?
Daisy: Mmm ... I’ve never seen Uncle Bob in trousers like those, but they are great! Maybe he needs a bit of colour in his life?!
Sophie: I’m not sure ... but maybe you’re right. I mean, they’re pure silk. OK, so you think they’re perfect for Bob?
Daisy: Well, I didn’t say ‘perfect’ exactly, but I’m sure he’ll like them. Wow, that market looks amazing. Lovely and colourful.
Sophie: It’s beautiful, Daisy. I’ll bring you next time for sure.
Daisy: You always say that, Mum!
Sophie: I know, love, but you have school and this is work you know!
Daisy: Yeah, I know. It’s all work, work, work.
Sophie: Daisy, one more question - what about this shirt for Oliver?
Daisy: For Ollie? Yeah, Mum, he’ll love it. No, hold on, what about that one over there, behind you? The one with the flowers on.
Sophie: This one? Really? Do you think it’s Ollie’s style? It’s a bit loud, isn’t it? He usually likes darker colours ... and I’m not sure about the flowers.
Daisy: Oh, he’ll love it, Mum. At least he won’t get lost on a dark night!
Sophie: Yeah, maybe ... he has got some brighter coloured clothes recently. OK then, I’ll get these for Uncle Bob and this shirt for Oliver and you’re getting a surprise!
Daisy: Perfect, Mum! When are you arriving home?
Sophie: I’ll be there on Monday, OK? See you then, love.
Daisy: All right, Mum, see you soon. Take care.
Oliver: Was that Mum?
Oliver: Any news?
Sophie: No, she was in a market, doing some Christmas shopping.
Oliver: Oh no! It’s going to be one of those years of ‘exotic’ presents, isn’t it?
Sophie: I’m afraid so! It’s going to be another weird Christmas Day! Do you remember that year when she’d just come back from Peru?
Oliver: Oh no!
Did you enjoy this Grammar Snack? Do you think Oliver will like that shirt? ;)