In this article we are going to look at four words that can cause a little confusion and mistakes: This – These – That – Those.

This and these express a sense of nearness or closeness in some way to the speaker. Nearness can mean near in a physical situation, near in time, or in a personal relationship.

That and those express distance from the speaker. The words refer to distance in terms of the physical location, time (far away in the past or future), and a relationship with someone else.

Study the following pairs:

Will you post these letters, please?

Where are those letters I left here earlier?

What’s this I hear about you going out with Marie?

What was that? I didn’t hear what you said.

What time does this concert we’re going to tonight start?

What was that concert like last week?

This is going to be the holiday of our lives!

That was the worst holiday I’ve ever had!

Notice how this/ these and that/ those describe a ‘close’ or ‘far away’ concept.