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 tell you which person or object you are talking about. 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.
- This sweater does not suit you, and that one is too big for you.
- This necklace is made of pure diamonds, but that’s not for you.
In both the examples, you might have observed that when we use the word ‘this’ it indicates that the object is closer to the speaker, but ‘that’ reflects that the object is at a distant place in the first example, while in the second one, it means ‘a particular object (implied)’.
Content: This Vs That
|Basis for Comparison||This||That|
|Meaning||This is a pronoun and determiner used to identify someone or something near to the speaker.||That is a pronoun and determiner used to identify someone or something at a distance to the speaker.|
|Refers to||Something which is just mentioned.||Something which is previously mentioned.|
|Examples||Did you know this person?||That's not my cup of tea.|
|The water of this river is clean and pure.||Bring me that book.|
|This is a very simple exercise.||Who is that boy?|
Definition of This
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. However, in English we can use it in many contexts, as discussed in the points given below:
- To refer someone or something:
- Kate studies in this college.
- This pancake is superb.
- I would love to watch this movie once again.
- His friend repaired this mobile himself.
- Where shall I keep this jar?
- Who is going to complete this?
- This is the way to Principal’s cabin.
- This is my favourite dress.
- I heard this news on the internet.
- During encroachment, several houses of this area are demolished.
- To refer to something near in time or space, to the speaker:
- Alex joined the army in March this year.
- I have seen her in the coffee house, this evening.
- By this time, I will reach New York tomorrow.
- I will go to my Granny’s home, this vacations.
- To talk about degree:
- The car was this close to me.
- Joe never reacted like this on a silly joke.
Definition of That
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. There are a number of ways, to use the word that, which we’ll discuss in the points given below:
- To indicate someone or something, distant in time or space from the speaker:
- That issue has to be resolved first.
- Who is that boy talking to Lisa?
- That accident happened some days ago.
- That old woman has shifted to Delhi.
- You should try that new salon and spa, opened in our area.
- To refer to something which was formerly discussed or you already have an idea of it:
- She stopped working on that project, after coming back from Australia.
- They always arrange a party at that restaurant.
- The lady who was shouting at me that day is my mother.
- As a conjunction, to introduce relative clause:
- Where are the earrings that you have borrowed from me?
- Claudia works for a company, that deals in security alarms.
- As an adverb it refers to as much as suggested or given:
- The lady is too old to work that much.
- The candidates are not given that much time.
Key Differences Between This and That
There is a thin line of difference between this and that which is discussed in the points given below:
- ‘This’ is a demonstrative pronoun and adjective which is used to point out a person object or an idea, which right here with you, i.e. within speaker’s vision range. In contrast, ‘that’ is a demonstrative pronoun and adjective which indicate 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.
- ‘This’ can be used to refer to something which is just mentioned. Conversely, ‘that’ refers to something which is previously mentioned or implied.
- The plural form of the this is ‘these’, whereas ‘those’ is the plural form of that.
- 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. On the other hand, the word ‘this’ cannot be used as a conjunction.
- This is my sister.
- I made this snack for you.
- Whose is this mobile?
- I can’t believe this!
- The new restaurant opens this new year.
- That is my friend’s house.
- No, that book is mine.
- That’s cool.
- Do not touch that blade!
- Would you pass me that bowl?
How to remember the difference
The most important tip, to differentiate between these two Basic English words is when someone/something is right here with you – use ‘this’, whereas when someone/something is there, i.e. at a distance – use ‘that’.