I know the use of "this" and "that". In the case of referring to ideas, I can't understand the use of "this" and "that". Here I give the rules taken from the site below: Sometimes, the difference between this and that is quite subtle. We often use this to refer to something (e.g. an idea or suggestion) that you are about to say and we use that to refer something that you just mentioned:

  1. Let’s go to the cinema. What do you think about that?

  2. What do you think about this? We could go to the cinema.

1a. "Let’s go to the cinema." here the event did not happen yet so why "that" used in the first example?

2a. "we could go to the cinema" here the event already has happened so why "this" used in the second example? source:http://www.nativespeakeronline.com/confusing-words/what-is-the-difference-between-this-and-that

  • Let me just point out that in 'we could go to the cinema' the event has not already happened, as you assume: 'we could' is used here as a suggestion only. May 11, 2017 at 17:19

1 Answer 1


You provide a link to another page about usage. That page is not saying that the EVENT has (or has not happened). The page is saying that the NAME OF THE EVENT has (or has not) already been mentioned.

If you first mention going to the movies, you then refer to going to the movies with the word "that." But if the "What do you think" part is coming first, before you mention the movies, say "What do you think of this," not "What do you think of that."


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