Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange
15

A very simple summary which I found, without getting too complicated would be the distance they are from the speaker: Use "this" for one object (singular) which is here (near to us). Example: This is a book in my hand. Use "that" for one object (singular) which is there. Example: That is his car over there. In your example, it ...


11

In the 'Have you seen those boots?' example, if meant as an exclamation, there is also a sense of distancing oneself. That is to say if it was meant to imply "Have you seen those boots, they are fantastic/awful", one is indicating the boots are not yours, but belonging to someone else, and thus conceptually distant from you. If the question is taken to mean ...


8

Roughly, "to screw up one eye" means to tighten and tense up all the muscles surrounding that eye. This is an image of someone screwing up their entire face. Imagine that, but more localized. And you probably wouldn't close the eye completely, but rather leave a narrow gap remaining to look disprovingly at the person with. Basically an extreme squint. ...


7

These and those can indeed have locative difference. They are the plural forms of this and that, respectively. They often convey a more abstract idea of proximity rather than actual physical closeness. If I am unaware of where the boots are, I will say "have you seen those boots?" regardless of how close I think they might be. There are no hard and fast ...


6

This, that, etc. are demonstrative pronouns and thus don't have genitive forms. The genitive case would be attached to the noun that you are demonstrating, e.g. "This thing's colour." That isn't to say it wouldn't make sense to have genitive forms of demonstrative pronouns - their usage would be fairly niche - just they're not currently a feature of the ...


5

Yet another instance of the GMAT making up the rules of grammar as it goes along, without any reference to what actually happens in the language... Never mind. The idea is that those somehow stands in for the antecedent word company. It is assumed, therefore, that in order to be grammatical, it must be the same in grammatical number as the antecedent. The ...


5

In your example, the entire phrase these illuminated landmarks refers to Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral. Within that phrase, the demonstrative determiner these tells us which illuminated landmarks the writer wants us to have in mind, that is, the landmarks just mentioned. Demonstrative determiners are placed before nouns and, in the words of the ‘...


5

These if often used when presenting something you have to someone: Have you seen these boots? I'm so glad I bought them. These are the grapes I'm going to give to Mildred. Those is often used when you you are indicating something not in your possession, something conceptually unattached to you, or as an alternative to what you are presenting as ...


4

These is used for articles in your vicinity, close to you. It is assumed in the sentences "On this site there are lists of books that I read. I recommend these books" and "Below on this page is a list of books that I read. I recommend these books" that the list of books is close by, so it and its contents can be easily identified. If the list was far away (...


4

Yes, those sentences differ significantly in having different subjects: The first one uses a personal pronoun they for its subject. The second uses the proximal plural demonstrative pronoun these for its subject. They tells you nothing about the location, while the proximal plural demonstrative pronoun these contrasts deictically with the distal plural ...


4

You're correct: "This" refers to a thing which is nearby, and "That" to a thing which is farther away. However, distance in language can also indicate an emotional distance. For example, when sitting down with your family for dinner at home you might say, "Will you pass the salt?" But in a more formal setting where there is less intimacy, for example, a ...


3

No. In The Syntactic Phenomena of English, McCawley uses this fact to construct examples illustrating his proposal that the purpose of syntactic transformations is to fit logical forms into the surface requirements of English, one of which is that all the words must be permitted by the English morphological system. If you find yourself wanting to say "this'...


3

I would also add that the speaker may have had mental distance in mind (possibly subconsciously) when speaking. For example, either they hated the boots and wanted to distance themselves from them or the really liked the boots, but the boots were way more expensive than the speaker could afford.


3

What a wonderful question! I had fun considering the possibilities. I think you're right; for the most part, This X's Y would be parsed as [This X]'s Y rather than This [X's Y]. It comes down to semantics. The demonstrative this is used to mark out the noun referred to. Typically, that noun immediately follows the demonstrative. So This judge's ruling gets ...


3

If "these" in the teacher's letter refers back to "assignments", the statement "These are not homework" is short for "These assignments are not homework," which is grammatical--the subject and the verb agree in number.


3

Can't a noun in plural form be complemented with a noun in singular form? Of course it can. Here are some examples: These workers make a lot of mistakes when they work since they are new to this job. They are not the main reason we are losing money – the state of the market is. and: These people are my family. and also: We are a team! If the ...


2

"These" is generally used to refer to things that are currently present/happening, whereas "those" may be used to refer to things that are present/happening at a distance, be it space and/or time wise. However, it is also common to use "those" for things that are not on the immediate person of the speaker, remembering that near and far away are both ...


2

Demonstrative determiner is not exactly a syntactic category; determiner is a syntactic category, but demonstrative is basically an etymological+semantic grouping consisting of this, that, these, and those. So although next is a determiner in some cases, it is never a "demonstrative determiner".


2

Strictly speaking, "these" is used for things close to the speaker, while "those" is used for things distant from the speaker. The rule of thumb is to stand in one spot: if you could touch one of the objects you're talking about without moving, use "these". If you'd have to point to indicate them (or if you can't even do that), use "those". However, ...


2

The OED says that using them as a demonstrative adjective — as though it were modern those — is now considered passé: III. 5. As demonstr. adj. = those. Now only dial. or illiterate. Therefore, under all reasonable scenarios, that was the wrong answer.


2

"Complicated" is a bad word because (as a software engineer myself), to me that means "difficult to maintain" or "difficult to use". Similarly, the word "large" can also be applied to a great deal of really crappy software that fills people's computers up without great benefit. I would avoid that too. Basically, "large" and "complicated" are two words ...


2

It's about context. In that third week of November, I started school. means that something else happened in that third week of November. You are referring to a specific moment/event that happened in the past. For instance: I'd been in labor for 7 days before my first son was born. In that third week of November, I started school. While In the ...


1

"This (picture) is Ken and Mike." If the sentence is a caption for a picture, "this" is assumed to refer to that picture, which is singular. However, though it's a hair less idiomatic in the case of a simple caption, one could say "These are Ken and Mike", in which case "these" would be assumed to refer to the individuals in the picture. (Something like "...


1

It is only ambiguous when spoken. When read in text, there is a clear distinction between a case of a singular possessive noun [This boy's hat]; And the second case which is an example of a plural possessive adjectival-noun [This boys' hat]. [Boys'] is no longer the object being modified by [This] because it has taken the function of an adjective and is used,...


1

There is no reason to expect that a single noun phrase could substitute for "it" in all cases. "It" refers back to a coreferential antecedent, which will be described differently by different speakers. What matters is that the thing referred to is the same, not that it is described in the same way. 1) "Where's my book?" "It's on the table." it = your ...


1

I think all natural languages have their shortcomings. If you're creating your own, you can construct such a shortcoming. I have yet to encounter a language that successfully handles four genders: masculine, feminine, neuter, and indeterminate. Some Eastern languages practically avoid grammatical gender. Some languages only have masculine and feminine ...


1

The first sentence is wrong because those must agree in number with the antecedent. And so, it'd be grammatically correct to say: Her company is outperforming that of her competitor(s). Her companies are outperforming those of her competitor(s). Their companies are outperforming those of their competitor(s). But ungrammatical to say: Her ...


1

This is a self-answer. The various answers given don't seem to be complete. The best I can tell regarding the answer of this is "it's a bit complicated" and I refer the interested reader to look at the main comments for discussion. Particularly, John Lawler's comment: You can't expect a great deal from syntactic category labels; they're rarely specific ...


1

As John Lawler notes in the comments: This, that, these, those are demonstrative. Next is originally a locative (the superlative in nigh, near, next), but is frequently used metaphorically of time in sequence of events (The next speaker is Ms. Hobbs). Like all superlatives, and all demonstratives, it's definite, so there's lots of meaning overlap, but the ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible