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These and Those - Demonstrative Words

Quiz playing is a wonderful way to increase your knowledge of English as a Second Language. Remember that all of our ESL quizzes have titles that are both friendly and technical at the same time… In the case of this quiz you might like to tell your friends about “These and Those” but no doubt your teachers will talk about the “Demonstrative Words”! If you hear a technical term and you want to find a quiz about the subject then just look through the list of quiz titles until you find what you need.

ESL often appears to be full of difficult technical terms as in this case – demonstrative words – and this can be very confusing for beginners. It might help to know these terms if you have already studied your own language in great depth but for most of us it is only necessary to know how words are used, not what they are called!

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These and those are demonstrative words.

Often we need to distinguish one item among several: 'This hat', 'those gloves'. This quiz (!) will help you remember the difference between 'demonstrative words'.

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  1. Pick the word (or words) that fill the gap best.
    Just let me finish ... ... documents, then I'll come over and help you with your work.
    The documents are (a) plural and (b) somewhere near to the person who is speaking, so 'these' is the only right answer.
  2. Pick the word (or words) that fill the gap best.
    You may do it ... ... way when you're at home in your own country, but in Britain we normally do it like ... .
    'You (over there) do it your way, like that; but we do it our way, like this.'
  3. Pick the word (or words) that fill the gap best.
    At a very hard time during World War 2, the British leader Winston Churchill made a famous speech to Parliament, aiming to raise our courage. His last words were: 'Let us (...) brace ourselves to our duties, and (...) men will still say, " ... ... was their finest hour".'.
    Churchill hoped that future people (like ourselves!) would be able to look back and say 'THAT was their finest hour'; but at the time he was speaking, the difficult hour was close upon the nation, so he said 'This ...'.
  4. Pick the word (or words) that fill the gap best.
    The advertisements say that ... ... new car here is far more comfortable than ... ... old one.
    If the first car is 'here', it must be 'this'; so the other one is 'that'.
    You can't really have 'this ... and this' in the same sentence (though sometimes it does make sense).
    'These' and 'those' refer to plural things, and one other car can't very well be plural.
  5. Pick the word (or words) that fill the gap best.
    Why are ... ... people making all ... ... noise?
    The 'people' are plural, which narrows the good answers down to (1) or (4). But if, in Answer 1, the people are nearby ('these'), so will the noise be, so it should be 'this noise' rather than 'that noise'.
    In Answer 4 we have plural people and a singular noise, but both of these things are at a distance ('those ... that').
    Most languages, for obvious communicative reasons, have ways of defining nearby things and ones that are further away. Think of the pair 'voici/voila' in French, and phrases like 'koko ni' in Japanese.
  6. Pick the word (or words) that fill the gap best.
    'To be or not to be? ... ... is the question.' (from 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare)
    'There it is, the question': 'That'! (Almost everyone who knows any English at all has heard this famous quotation.)
  7. Pick the word (or words) that fill the gap best.
    'Pick any one of ... ... cards and put it into ... ... box over there, without showing me.'
    We assume that the magician is holding the cards near to himself and drawing your attention to them; and that they are plural (so you can make a choice of one of them); so the first blank word must be 'these'.
    On the other hand, there is only one box mentioned, and it is further away ~ the distance may be some part of the trick to come ~ so the only good word here is 'that'.
  8. Pick the word (or words) that fill the gap best.
    'Warning: The company cannot accept any responsibility for damage if the machine is not used in accordance with ... ... instructions.'
    'Instructions' are plural, and we may assume that the warning and in instructions are printed nearby to each other (it would be unreasonable if they weren't!): so, 'these'.
  9. Pick the word (or words) that fill the gap best.
    ' ... isn't a British-style electric plug, but luckily we have an adaptor to convert it from one of .... '
    The first plug that's mentioned is singular (' ... is ...'), so it must be either 'this' or 'that'. The sentence then goes on to refer to other ones that are different (which must be 'those': plural, because this is one among many).
  10. Pick the word (or words) that fill the gap best.
    'Don't tell me "I've had one of ... ... days" again; you always seem to be having a bad time at work, ... ... days!'
    'One of those days' is an expression that means 'a day like THAT', i.e. the sort of (bad) day that you don't want any more of, so you would use 'that' or 'those' to suggest that you want to be distanced from such an experience. If there have been a lot of bad days (or you fear that there might be), they would be both far-away and plural, which is why you say 'those'.
    The other expression is 'THESE days', meaning 'recently' or 'round about now' ('Grandmother isn't looking so healthy these days.'). We say 'one of these days' to suggest that a thing will happen quite soon ('One of these days he'll realise what a fool he has been.').

Author: Ian Miles

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