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Like the definite article, recently I started to see what are traditionally known as demonstatives not as a group of words but rather as a single word.

If you analyze it as an inflected word with a variable function, it simplifies a lot of logic.

In other words, the demostrative inflects for number, singular and plural, and distance, near or far, producing the following four forms:

this, that, these, those

In addition, the demostrative, can have one of two grammatical functions. It can function as a determiner:

These books

Or it can funtion as a pronoun:

This is better.

If inflected verbs can be thought of as one word, why not other words with a common stem and meaning?

  • this, that, these, those can be pronouns, the is not normally so – AmE speaker Mar 18 '17 at 2:38
  • @Clare I wasn't claiming that. I meant The definite article is a single word, theres only one. – William Mar 18 '17 at 2:42
  • 'Yon' may be archaic, but it's not obsolete. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 18 '17 at 7:45
  • @EdwinAshworth It's obsolete around these parts. – Dan Bron Mar 18 '17 at 14:43
  • @Dan Bron That's why it's best to check in a dictionary, to avoid parochialism. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 18 '17 at 14:50

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