Today we came across a sentence that goes like this:

Many physical objects constitute the IoT. These send data, share information and/or remotely control and manage a device or process.

My question here is is it correct to say 'these send'? Can you put a verb directly after 'these'? The sentence seems a little bit strange to me, but my friends think it's okay to say this. It sounds more right if it's:

They send ....


  • These are not the droids you're looking for. – Hot Licks Feb 21 '19 at 14:40
  • Yes. These can serve as a pronoun as well as an adjective. In the sentence, "These send" is the plural form of "This is." No issue at all. – Karlomanio Feb 21 '19 at 15:49

This, that, these, those are demonstrative pronouns that can serve as the subject of verb, yes.

These send data, share information, etc.

Whether it would be stylistically better to use they, or to use these adjectivally, will depend on the particular case.

These devices send data, share information and/or remotely control and manage a device or process.

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  • My point is can you omit the devices here. So that it will be These send data, share information... – Zhang Ze Feb 21 '19 at 14:47
  • I understood your point and addressed it with my first sentence, though I did not provide an example. Now I have. – TRomano Feb 21 '19 at 14:48

These send data . . .

This is entirely proper. Traditional grammar calls this, these, that, those employed as nominals "demonstrative pronouns". The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language calls such uses "fused-head NPs": a determiner (including quantifiers like some or many) or modifier 'fuses' with its head (the noun it determines or modifies) to act as a noun phrase.

These objects send data.
That proposition is correct.
He likes apples, so I gave him two apples.
Most people are happy with this, but some people are upset.

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  • Do CGEL regard this fusion as ellipsis of the head? – TRomano Feb 21 '19 at 14:53
  • @TRomano No, though their argument is not entirely convincing: "[Adding the missing head] is not possible in cases like [the most important of her criticisms and the rich], however, and it is for this reason that we analyse the construction in terms of fusion of the head with a dependent function rather than in terms of ellipsis of the head." Note that I've made a small edit to my answer to accommodate these constructions. – StoneyB on hiatus Feb 21 '19 at 15:07

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