It's a few weeks before Christmas and Sophie is working in India. She's doing her Christmas shopping in a local market.

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?

Yes, exactly.

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!



Did you enjoy this Grammar Snack? Do you think Oliver will like that shirt? ;)


nawaki's picture
nawaki 19 August, 2015 - 12:44

I enjoyed this grammar snack. I think that Olive will not like this shirt because it is not his style.

1 user has voted.
NATALYY's picture
NATALYY 9 June, 2015 - 07:47

I didn't see the video,but I reread this grammar, where can I found more difficult?I just want to learn something new,or revise something other...:-))Thanks in advance

1 user has voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
Jonathan - Coor... 9 June, 2015 - 11:13

Hi Natalyy! Did you know that every page has a language level shown just below the text? The level for this page is A1-A2, so if you want something more difficult, try B1-B2. You can search for those levels on our search page: And if you don't know what level you are, look at this page:

I hope that helps!

Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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SARAH K's picture
SARAH K 29 May, 2013 - 09:14

Yes, I enjoyed it. I have studied this grammar before and it helped me to refresh my knowledge.
I don't think that Oliver will like the shirt, because he has a europian style while that is more a asiatic style.

0 users have voted.
Natalija's picture
Natalija 2 May, 2013 - 14:29

I was wondering if anyone knows were can be found some English expressions, more difficult ones, that are used very often. I'm participating at English competition, so I need it for practice. Thanks in advance:).

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zunaira's picture
zunaira 5 April, 2013 - 18:35

hi ! yea i enjoyed a lot ,it was wonderful conversation between mom and daughter as well. i guess yes oliver would like that shirt but i think he would like the shirt with flowers because her sister told her mother that his brother do like darker colors mostly.

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RehinaParker's picture
RehinaParker 5 March, 2013 - 13:49

I think that garammar snack is very helpful..... Oliver will not like his T-shirt because flowers are for girls not for boys..

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