Generally, determiners are words that precede a noun phrase in a sentence and denote whether it is general or specific. And to determine that, different forms of determiners help us indicate which noun one is referring to or how many. In this post, we are going to focus on one such form of determiners called the demonstrative determiners.
Demonstrative determiners are simply words used to specify which noun or thing one is referring to. They provide additional information to the noun phrase by expressing its literal and figurative distance. It has different functions and uses that we are going to discuss down below.
What are demonstrative determiners?
Demonstrative determiners are the type of determiners used when we need to specify a particular noun or a thing in a sentence. Just like any other determiner, they also come before a noun phrase. But the main job of a demonstrative determiner is to add information to a noun phrase by determining its literal and figurative distance from the speaker.
In simple words, demonstrative determiners are those words that help us denote a specific thing by expressing their physical and psychological distance from the person who is speaking. This means these words indicate whether the thing referred to by the speaker is physically and emotionally closer or physically and emotionally farther to them.
So, demonstrative determiners are words like this, that, these, those.
However, the type of distance will always depend on what the speaker is referring to. Sometimes the noun can be both physically and emotionally close and vice versa, or sometimes it can be emotionally proximate and physically distant and vice versa.
Let us look at some examples.
- This book is very close to my heart.
- Those are my cats in the garden.
- This problem is making me restless.
- Can you pass me that book?
- These rings are the best.
Usage of demonstrative determiners
Now that we know what demonstrative determiners are, let us try to understand when and how these words are used.
Singular demonstrative determiners: this and that are both singular demonstrative determiners. They are used when one is specifically referring to one thing.
However, this is a singular proximal demonstrative determiner. This means it expresses something closer to the speaker. On the other hand, that is a singular distal demonstrative determiner. This means they refer to a thing that is far away from the speaker.
- I read this book yesterday.
- You cannot choose this dirty color for your room.
- Can you bring me that bag?
- I want that article to be completed by midnight.
Plural demonstrative determiners: these and those are plural demonstrative determiners. They are used when we are referring to a plural form of a noun.
However, these is the plural proximal demonstrative determiner, meaning they are closer to the speaker. And those are plural distal demonstrative determiners, meaning they are distant from or far away from the speaker.
- These articles are prohibited inside.
- Can you elaborate these points?
- Pass me those packets.
- I want those blue and pink shades in my room.
So, these are the demonstrative determiners that we use when we are talking about something specific. They are used for both singular and plural nouns.