Difference Between Demonstrative Pronoun and Demonstrative Adjective

Demonstrative Pronoun vs Demonstrative Adjective

As the difference between demonstrative pronoun and demonstrative adjective is very subtle there is a possibility for these two to confuse the English student.However, once the basic idea has been grasped this is easy enough to bear in mind. If we put it simply, demonstrative adjectives and pronouns are used to refer to specific objects or people. The difference between the two is that while the demonstrative adjective needs a noun to qualify it, the demonstrative pronoun stands alone. This article attempts to highlight the difference between demonstrative pronoun and adjective while providing a comprehensive idea of each section.

What is a Demonstrative Adjective?

Demonstrative adjectives are this, these, that, those. When we are referring to objects or people that are close to us, we can use this in the singular or these in the plural. When the object is far away from us, we use that in singular and those in plural. However, the specialty of demonstrative adjectives is that they can never stand alone. They have to be used with a noun at all times. Let us have a look at an example.

Can I have a look at that dress?

According to the example given above, the demonstrative adjective that is used to refer to an object far away from the speaker. Also note how the demonstrative adjective is followed by a noun from which it derives its meaning. Now let us look at another example.

Those girls look a bit familiar.

In this case, the demonstrative adjective those has been used to refer to people. Attention has to be paid to the fact that when using demonstrative adjectives, it always has to agree with the noun. That is if the noun is singular the demonstrative adjective has to be in singular, if the noun is plural, so is the demonstrative adjective.

What is a Demonstrative Pronoun?

Demonstrative pronouns are the same as demonstrative adjectives. They are this, these, that, those. However, unlike the adjectives, the application of demonstrative pronouns is a bit different. They do not need the assistance of another noun but stand alone. Let us have a look at some examples.

That looks really nice on you.

According to the example, the word that has been used as a pronoun. It does not need a noun to convey a meaning to the reader. It stands alone and still conveys a meaning.

These are absolutely delicious.

Once again, the demonstrative pronoun these have been used to convey a meaning.

Difference Between Demonstrative Pronoun and Demonstrative Adjective

What is the difference between Demonstrative Pronoun and Demonstrative Adjective?

• Demonstrative adjectives and pronouns are very much similar since both use this, these, that and those.

• Both are used for the purpose of referring to objects or people that are either near or far away.

• Demonstrative adjectives need the assistance of a noun and cannot stand alone.

• The demonstrative adjective has to be modified according to the noun that follows it.

• On the other hand, the demonstrative pronoun does not require the assistance of any nouns and stands alone still managing to convey a complete meaning to the reader.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Demonstrative Pronoun Chart A by Zabdiel Feliz Lebrun (CC BY-ND 2.0)