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Table of contents Chapter 11 11.1 Formation of demonstrative pronouns

chapter 10
Chapter 11: Demonstrative pronouns

  11.1 Formation of demonstrative pronouns

It is well known that the grammar of one's mother tongue is something rather bizarre. All use them all the time and nobody actually understands the way it works. In computer programming the things are a bit different - you have to know the programming language before you can use it. With grammar it's the other way around. You understand it when you know the language - when it's actually already too late, because you know the language. Now back to the demonstrative pronouns - a thing that everybody uses for instance in the bakery's pointing at something and saying I want that one.

The English language actually knows four demonstrative pronouns, two in singular and two in plural.

  English demonstrative pronouns

demonstrative pronouns in singular

demonstrative pronouns in plural

this

  that

these

  those

The demonstrative pronouns this and these indicate something close in time and also locally. They are used when a noun is put right after them. That and those indicate something that is a bit further in time and also locally. They also refer to something that was just talked about. The English demonstrative pronouns are used adjectival (before a noun) and pronominal (instead of a noun).

A: This coat is really lovely.
B: Oh, I'd rather like those behind the mirror.
A: How can you say that? They are real fur!
B: But these fur coats are soooo in fashion!

In Spanish there are three demonstrative pronouns (three for each gender and for each number as you'll see). And then there is the differentiation between the adjectival demonstrative pronouns and the pronominal.

chapter 10