Which sentence sounds more natural?

  1. These are first and foremost ethical, not medical questions.

  2. They are first and foremost ethical, not medical questions.

  • Deepnds entirely on context, and is probably off-topic as 'writing advice'. All that can be said at present is that they are both grammatical. Nov 14, 2013 at 13:17
  • The sentence stood alone, without any context.
    – mick
    Nov 28, 2013 at 11:47
  • 1
    That seems improbable, since both These and They must refer to preceding nouns. If there really is no context, neither sentence makes any sense, so neither can sound natural. Nov 28, 2013 at 13:39

1 Answer 1


The only difference I see between the sentences is proximity, although they are not physical objects. When I use these, it's like the one I'm talking about is near to me, as opposed to using they.

It's also like saying,

These beliefs are the truth.

They are the truth.

When you use these, you can specify the subject, which in this case, beliefs. The second sentence that uses they totally substitutes beliefs.

Both are grammatically correct. These and they are both pronouns.

You are asking if which sentence sounds more natural. It depends upon on the speaker. I would use different gestures with these and they.

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