The words this and that can sometimes be confusing for English learners. The words ‘this’ and ‘that’ are demonstrative pronoun which is used for indicating something. Not only this, but they also come in the category of demonstrative determiners which are used before a singular noun, that tells you which person or object you are talking about. Generally, ‘this’ is physically near you or near in time and ‘that’ is physically further away or in the future.
When we are referring to physical objects, we use this to refer to an object that is close and that to point to an object that is further away. We use the word ‘this‘ to point out a person or object which is close to you. On the other hand, ‘that‘ is used to point out a person or an object which is farther from you.
Difference between This and That
- This is a pronoun and determiner used to identify someone or something near to the speaker.
- ‘This’ is a demonstrative pronoun and adjective which is used to point out a person’s object or an idea, which right here with you, i.e. within the speaker’s vision range.
- “This” is used to refer to something that is nearby, close, or “at hand” or an idea being discussed as though it were something familiar to our mind.
- Basically, we use the word ‘this’ to show or point out an object, person, idea, time, etc. which is right here with you or close to you or which is recently mentioned, experienced, or supposed to be understood.
- ‘This’ can be used to refer to something which is just mentioned.
- The word ‘that’ can be used as a conjunction to add a subordinate clause in a sentence, in order to mention something or to give the reason.
- Examples: Did you know this person? The water of this river is clean and pure.
- That is a pronoun and determiner used to identify someone or something at a distance to the speaker.
- ‘That’ is a demonstrative pronoun and adjective which indicates a person object or an idea which is at a distant place or position to you, i.e. not within the speaker’s vision range.
- “That” is used is used to refer to something that is distant, removed from us in conception, or “over there” or away from us in conception.
- When we talk about a particular object, idea, or person, which is previously mentioned or implied, we use the word ‘that’. Moreover, it is also used to refer to someone or something which is far away from the speaker.
- ‘That’ refers to something which is previously mentioned or implied.
- The word ‘this’ cannot be used as a conjunction.
- Examples: That’s not my cup of tea. Bring me that book.