A demonstrative pronoun is a pronoun used in place of a noun to demonstrate (= show; indicate; point) where something or somebody is in reference to the speaker.
There are four demonstrative pronouns in the English language:
Did you see this?
My mum likes these better.
What is that over there?
She never reads those.
A good way to think about demonstrative pronouns is to imagine pointing at the subject!
Types of Demonstrative Pronouns
Simply put, these are the differences between the 4 different demonstrative pronouns.
Singular: this, that
Plural: these, those
Near: this, these
Far: that, those
Demonstrative Pronoun or Demonstrative Adjective?
Although demonstrative pronouns and demonstrative adjectives look exactly the same, their function is different.
- A demonstrative pronoun is used instead of a noun.
- A demonstrative adjective is used to modify a noun.
So in this example the demonstrative pronoun that replaces a noun:
Did you see the sudden flash of lightening over the valley?
Did you see that?
Meanwhile, a demonstrative adjective modifies the noun and distinguishes it from many others:
Did you see the man who was wearing a bright yellow suit at the funeral?
Did you see that man?
So demonstrative pronouns replace a noun and end a clause or sentence while demonstrative adjectives come before a noun or noun phrase.
See also, Demonstrative Adjectives.