Demonstrative Adjectives: Exploring the Definition, Usage and Useful Examples

Have you ever learned about “demonstrative adjectives”? Understanding the definition and how to use demonstrative adjectives correctly is important for clear and effective communication in both written and spoken English. Let’s get started!

Demonstrative Adjectives – Picture

The Demonstrative AdjectivePin

What are Demonstrative Adjectives?

Definition

Demonstrative adjectives are a type of adjective that is used to point out or indicate a specific noun in a sentence. These adjectives are used to describe the position of something or someone in space or time. The most commonly used demonstrative adjectives in English are this, that, these, and those.

Demonstrative adjectives are used to emphasize the importance of a noun while showing its physical location or placement in time. These adjectives are different from other types of adjectives in that they specifically point out a particular noun in a sentence.

Examples

Demonstrative adjectives can be used to indicate both singular and plural nouns. Here are some examples of demonstrative adjectives in sentences:

  • This shirt is too small for me.
  • That car is very expensive.
  • These shoes are my favorite.
  • Those books on the shelf are mine.

In the first sentence, “this” is used to indicate a singular noun, while in the third sentence, “these” is used to indicate a plural noun. Similarly, “that” and “those” are used to indicate singular and plural nouns respectively.

Demonstrative adjectives are also used to refer to something that has been previously mentioned or is understood from context. For example, if someone is holding a cat, they might say “this cat” to refer to the cat they are holding.

In English grammar, demonstrative adjectives always come before the noun they modify. They are often used at the beginning of a sentence to indicate the noun being referred to.

In conclusion, demonstrative adjectives are a type of adjective used to point out or indicate a specific noun in a sentence. They are used to emphasize the importance of a noun while showing its physical location or placement in time. The most commonly used demonstrative adjectives in English are this, that, these, and those.

How are Demonstrative Adjectives Used?

Function

Demonstrative adjectives are used to indicate the relative physical location of the noun or pronoun to the speaker. “This” and “these” are used for objects or people that are closer to the speaker, while “that” and “those” are used for objects or people that are further away.

Placement

Demonstrative adjectives are placed before the noun they modify. For example, “this book” and “that car” are both examples of demonstrative adjectives modifying nouns.

Demonstrative adjectives can also be used as pronouns to stand in for a noun that has already been mentioned or is understood from the context. For example, “This is mine” and “Those are hers” are both examples of demonstrative pronouns.

Rules

There are a few rules to keep in mind when using demonstrative adjectives.

  • First, they must agree in number with the noun they modify. For example, “this cat” is singular, while “these cats” is plural.
  • Second, demonstrative adjectives can be modified by ordinal numbers to indicate a specific item in a series. For example, “this first book” and “that third car” are both examples of using an ordinal number with a demonstrative adjective.
  • Finally, context is important when using demonstrative adjectives. They should be used to clarify and display a sense of physical location or proximity, as well as any feelings or effects associated with that proximity.

Types of Demonstrative Adjectives

Demonstrative adjectives are used to point out specific people, places, or things. They are used to indicate whether something is near or far from the speaker. These adjectives are used to modify nouns and pronouns.

Near Demonstratives

Near demonstratives are used to refer to something that is close to the speaker. The near demonstratives are “this” and “these”. They are used with singular and plural nouns respectively. Here are a few examples:

  • This book is mine.
  • These pens are blue.

Far Demonstratives

Far demonstratives are used to refer to something that is far from the speaker. The far demonstratives are “that” and “those”. They are used with singular and plural nouns respectively. Here are a few examples:

  • That car is expensive.
  • Those houses are big.

Demonstrative adjectives can be used to emphasize a noun or pronoun. They are always placed before the noun or pronoun they modify. Here are a few examples:

  • This is my cat, Fluffy.
  • That is a beautiful sunset.
  • These are the best cookies I have ever tasted.
  • Those are the shoes I want to buy.

Demonstrative adjectives can also be used in sentences with verbs. Here are a few examples:

  • This is the book I am reading.
  • That was the best movie I have ever seen.
  • These are the people I work with.
  • Those are the places I want to visit.

Demonstrative Adjectives vs. Pronouns

Definition

Demonstrative adjectives and pronouns are often confused with each other because they share the same words: this, that, these, and those. However, they have different functions in a sentence. Demonstrative adjectives modify a noun or pronoun by indicating its position in space or time. On the other hand, demonstrative pronouns replace a noun or pronoun to avoid repetition.

Examples

Consider the following examples:

  • This book is mine. (demonstrative adjective)
  • This is mine. (demonstrative pronoun)
  • That car is hers. (demonstrative adjective)
  • That is hers. (demonstrative pronoun)
  • These cookies are fresh. (demonstrative adjective)
  • These are delicious. (demonstrative pronoun)
  • Those flowers are beautiful. (demonstrative adjective)
  • Those are expensive. (demonstrative pronoun)

In these examples, the demonstrative adjectives modify the nouns (book, car, cookies, flowers), while the demonstrative pronouns replace them. Notice that the demonstrative pronouns can stand alone as a sentence, while the demonstrative adjectives cannot.

Singular and Plural

Demonstrative adjectives and pronouns can be singular or plural, depending on the noun they modify or replace. For example:

  • This pen (singular)
  • These pens (plural)
  • That cat (singular)
  • Those cats (plural)

Grammar

Demonstrative adjectives and pronouns must agree in number and gender with the noun they modify or replace. For example:

  • This book (singular, masculine)
  • This table (singular, feminine)
  • These books (plural, masculine)
  • These chairs (plural, feminine)

Recent

Demonstrative adjectives and pronouns can also be used to indicate something that is recent or just mentioned. For example:

  • “I lost my phone.” “Oh, this one here?” (demonstrative adjective)
  • “I lost my phone.” “Oh, this is it.” (demonstrative pronoun)

In these examples, the demonstrative words refer to the phone that was just mentioned.

Common Mistakes with Demonstrative Adjectives

Confusing Singular and Plural

One common mistake people make with demonstrative adjectives is confusing singular and plural forms. Demonstrative adjectives are used to point out specific people or objects, and they come in four forms: this, that, these, and those. It is important to use the correct form of the demonstrative adjective based on whether the noun it modifies is singular or plural.

For example, “this cake” is correct when referring to a single cake that is nearby, while “these cakes” is correct when referring to multiple cakes that are nearby. Similarly, “that question” is correct when referring to a single question that is farther away, while “those questions” is correct when referring to multiple questions that are farther away.

Incorrect Placement

Another common mistake people make with demonstrative adjectives is incorrect placement. Demonstrative adjectives should be placed before the noun they modify. For example, “this table” is correct, while “table this” is incorrect.

Additionally, it is important to use the correct demonstrative adjective based on the physical location of the person or object being pointed out. “This” is used to refer to something that is nearby, while “that” is used to refer to something that is farther away. “These” is used to refer to multiple things that are nearby, while “those” is used to refer to multiple things that are farther away.

Other Common Mistakes

Other common mistakes people make with demonstrative adjectives include:

  • Confusing “yon” and “over there” with “that”
  • Using demonstrative adjectives incorrectly in questions
  • Using demonstrative adjectives incorrectly with people or objects that are not physical

To avoid making these mistakes, it is important to have a clear understanding of how demonstrative adjectives work and when to use them correctly. The following table summarizes the correct usage of demonstrative adjectives:

Singular Plural
This These
That Those

Overall, by avoiding these common mistakes with demonstrative adjectives, speakers can communicate more clearly and effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions on Demonstrative Adjectives

Demonstrative adjectives can be a bit confusing, especially for those who are new to the English language. Here are some frequently asked questions that can help you better understand demonstrative adjectives.

What are demonstrative adjectives?

Demonstrative adjectives are a type of adjective that is used to point out or identify a noun. They are used to indicate the position of the noun in relation to the speaker and the listener. The four demonstrative adjectives in English are “this”, “that”, “these”, and “those”.

What is the difference between “this” and “these”?

“This” is used to refer to a singular noun that is close to the speaker, while “these” is used to refer to plural nouns that are close to the speaker. For example, “This pen is mine” refers to one pen that is close to the speaker, while “These pens are mine” refers to multiple pens that are close to the speaker.

Related Resources:
Order of Adjectives Possessive Adjectives
Coordinate Adjectives Compound Adjectives
Demonstrative Adjectives Predicate Adjective
Superlative Adjective Descriptive Adjectives
Interrogative Adjectives Comparative and Superlative Adjectives
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