Difference between Demonstrative Pronoun & Demonstrative Adjective

difference between demonstrative pronoun and demonstrative adjective

Sometimes the same, or very similar, words are used as both pronouns and adjectives in English, and in very similar looking constructions, which can cause a lot of confusion for learners. Here we’ll look at the difference between demonstrative pronoun and demonstrative adjective with sentence examples. 

Demonstrative pronouns and demonstrative adjectives both have the same terms: 
this, that, these, those

this – refers to singular nouns which are nearby
that – refers to singular nouns which are further away
these – refers to plural nouns which are nearby
those – refers to plural nouns which are further away

nearby and further away (or not nearby) can depend on the context it’s used in:
nearby – can mean within arms length, within sight, the nearest of several
further away – can mean further than arm’s reach, out of sight, furthest of several

Although the terms are the same, the uses differ between demonstrative adjectives and demonstrative pronouns

DEMONSTRATIVE ADJECTIVES

Demonstrative adjectives  are used together with the noun and qualify the noun

demonstrative adjective + noun

This soup is good.
That car is old.
These chairs are antique.
Those children are clever.

DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS

Demonstrative pronouns are not used with the noun but stand in place of the noun.

demonstrative adjective + noun → demonstrative pronoun

This soup is good → This is good.
That car is old. 
That is old.
These chairs are antiques. 
These are antiques.
Those children are clever. 
Those are clever.

Notice there are no nouns used with the demonstrative pronouns.

More Examples

Demonstrative Adjectives

This house is beautiful.
That car is Amy’s.
These shoes are his.
Those books are great.

Demonstrative Pronouns

This is beautiful.  / This is a beautiful house.
That is Amy’s.  /  That is Amy’s car.
These are his.  /  These are his shoes.
Those are great.  /  Those are great books.

These demonstrative adjective and demonstrative pronoun sentence examples show that although the terms used may be the exact same words, there is a difference between the demonstrative pronoun and demonstrative adjective.

PRACTICE EXERCISES

1. Find the demonstrative adjective in these sentences.
I want this hat and no other will do.
That joke made me laugh out loud.
She had never seen those people before.
Those rooms need re-painting.
My favourite of all the food are these muffins.

2. Replace the noun or noun phrase that is underlined with a demonstrative pronoun
The pen doesn’t work.
The chairs over there are very comfortable.
The house across the street is Peter’s house.
My soup is disgusting.
I just fell over the toys here.

Answers
1. this hat, that joke, those people, those rooms, these muffins
2. this, those, that, this, these