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!


Language level: 


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


Bora F's picture
Bora F 3 February, 2013 - 15:53

yes i enjoyed the grammar snack ..i don't think that oliver will like the shirt becouse it was with flowers and i think that folwers aren't for boys..:)

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sofika's picture
sofika 4 January, 2013 - 13:39

Yes i liked it very much.This Grammar Snack is very helpful.Thank you for your help.I think that Oliver will hate that exotic shirt.It doens't appeal to him.He would prefer e black one instead of that.

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jenniferkim's picture
jenniferkim 18 December, 2012 - 06:52

Yes, of course I enjoyed it. It was really fun.
I don't think Oliver will like the flowered shirt. It's too loud and colourful.
Most of the boys hate that kind of shirts.

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BlueSky97's picture
BlueSky97 6 September, 2012 - 15:39

It stands to reason that Oliver hate this kind of shirt and me too. This Grammar Snack is very helpful, thank you! :)

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