What is the Difference Between These and Those?

What is the Difference Between These and Those?

“Look at these/those people.”

There are countless people, especially the ones whose first language isn’t English, who find it difficult to differentiate between the terms ‘these’ and ‘those’. You’ve also probably already wondered or asked someone else, “What is the difference between these and those?” It’s important to understand how to properly use ‘this’ and ‘that’ before moving on to ‘these’ and ‘those’.                                                                                                                     

Definition of These

‘These’ is basically used in reference to objects near a person giving the description. It’s what you would call the plural of ‘this’. The definition of ‘these’ can be given as a term that describes a number of objects close by or in the hands of the person describing them. If the speaker says ‘this’ for a single item, he or she should use the term ‘these’ for several items.

Let’s look at an example:

Say you’re wearing a watch, and you’re telling others about it. You would say, “This is a watch.”

If you were two people wearing watches, and standing side by side, then the statement “These watches on our wrists are pricey” would apply.

However, you’ll find instances where ‘this’ and ‘these’ are used to denote thoughts or arguments. For example:

If a mother says, “My daughter gave me her reasons for not coming over, and this helped me to face my demons.” And, “My daughter gave me her reasons for not coming over, and these helped me to face my demons.” For both of these instances, the statements are correct. However, what you should note is that ‘this’ is used to represent the act of the daughter not coming over, while ‘these’ is used to represent the reasons the daughter gave for not coming over.

Definition of Those

‘Those’ is applicable while talking about objects that are far from the person talking about them. The definition of ‘these’ can be put as a term that describes objects far from one talking about them. Someone talking about an item away from him/her would say “that”, while he/she would use “those” if they were many items concerned.

For example:

Imagine you are standing in front of a group of people and there is a jar of water on a table in the corner. Then, “That jar in the corner has some water in it” is a valid statement.

However, if there are other jars, then, “Those jars have some water.”

‘That’ and ‘those’ are also applicable in instances where a third party wants to affirm or counter an argument or thoughts especially. For example, one can say, ‘Her daughter gave her reasons for not going over, and that helped her to face her demons.’ And, ‘Her daughter gave her reasons for not going over, and those helped her to face her demons.’ Both statements are accurate with “that” standing for the act of being unable to go over, and “those” being the “why” for not going over.

What is the Difference Between These and Those? – Comparison Table

Below is a table highlighting the differences between these and those:

Basis of ComparisonTheseThose
Place of useIn reference to nearby objectsIn reference to distant objects
Base wordsPlural word for the term thisPlural form for the term that
Other meaningCan be used as a basis for argument making a point valid or invalid.Can be used to counter another person’s arguments or to affirm them.

Conclusion of the Main Difference Between These vs Those

Just like stated previously, you will mostly use these subject terms depending on the objects’ closeness to the person talking about them. This is the main difference between ‘these’ and ‘those’. ‘These’ is used as a plural form of the commonly used phase- this, while ‘those’ is used as a plural form of an equally commonly used phase- that. The decision to use ‘these’ vs ‘those’ lies solely in the parent words (this and that), please always remember that. With constant practice, both words should soon become familiar.