Table of contents Chapter 11 11.3 Neutral demonstrative pronouns

Chapter 11: Demonstrative pronouns

  11.3 Neutral demonstrative pronoun

All three demonstrative pronouns have a neutral version. Those neutral versions are never used together with a noun. They do not substitute a noun but a more complex content. Something that was talked about earlier, a whole subordinate clause etc. These pronouns have the meaning of this or it.

eso, esto, aquello

  eso, esto, aquello
Eso no lo sé. = I do not know that.
Esto no me interesa. = I'm not interested in that.
Aquello es una historia que ya pasó. = That's a story that's long ago.

  eso, esto, aquello can be combined with todo or nada

Todo eso, me tiene hasta las narices.
= All this, I'm fed up with it. (- I have it to the noses)

No me cuentes nada de esto.
= Do not tell me about it.
Todo aquello era un desastre.
= All that was a desaster.
Yo creo que los ángeles no comen ajo. Esto sí que es una tontería.
= I believe that angels do not eat garlic. This is really stupid.

  Further, the neutral demonstrative pronouns are to be found in questions
¿Qué es esto? = What is this?
¿Y con eso, qué quieres decirme? = What do you want to tell me with this?
¿Cuánto cuesta esto? = How much does it cost?

As we have seen the demonstrative pronouns are not easily transferred 1:1 to the English ones. Sometimes we use the neutral personal pronoun it instead of a demonstrative pronoun. Ssometimes 'this' is used because we refer to something that we have just talked about or is to be defined more closely. Therefore it is easier to forget about the transfer from English to Spanish and try to take the logic of the Spanish in. Just the question How far is the object away 1) from the speaker? - if close = este, esta 2) from the one the speaker is speaking to? - if close = ese, esa 3) far from both? = aquel, aquella.

  Some subordinate clauses can be summed up with the neutral demonstrative pronouns
Jaime se ha comprado un coche. ¿Sí? Eso sí que es raro. Creía que está muriéndose de hambre con lo poco que gana.
= Jaime has bought a car. Really? That's weird. I thought he was starving with the little he earns.