Difference Between This and That

Choosing between “This” and “That” is akin to navigating a culinary crossroads where cravings and curiosity converge. “This” whispers promises of familiarity, like a favorite comfort food that wraps you in the warm embrace of nostalgia. On the flip side, “That” beckons with the allure of the unknown, an adventurous flavor waiting to tantalize taste buds and redefine preferences. It’s a delightful dilemma, where the mundane and the exotic engage in a dance of possibilities, inviting us to savor the contrasts and celebrate the spectrum of choices that flavor our lives.

This vs That

Comparison Chart

ProximityRefers to something closer (physically or in the context of the discussion) to the speakerRefers to something farther (physically or in the context of the discussion) from the speaker
EmphasisCan be used neutrally or to emphasize something near the speakerCan be used neutrally or with more emphasis to introduce something further away
Examples (Neutral)* Can you pass me this book? * This is the answer I was looking for.* Please look at that painting over there. * I mentioned that movie earlier.
Examples (Emphasis)* This is the most important concept to remember. * This is the only option I have left.* That was a terrible decision! * I can’t believe that just happened!
GrammarCan be used before singular or plural nounsCan be used before singular or plural nouns

Similarities Between This and That

1. Lexical Similarities

When examining the lexical aspects of “This” and “That” in the English language, one can identify several similarities. Both words serve as demonstrative pronouns, indicating objects or entities in a conversation. They are integral components of language that aid in pointing out or referencing specific items, creating a shared understanding between speakers.

2. Grammatical Functions

In terms of grammatical function, both “This” and “That” play crucial roles in sentence structure. They serve as subjects or objects, contributing to the overall coherence and clarity of communication. these pronouns facilitate smoother transitions in discourse, guiding listeners or readers to the intended focal point.

3. Spatial and Temporal Usage

Another notable similarity lies in the spatial and temporal usage of “This” and “That.” Both pronouns help establish a connection between the speaker and the referred item, whether it is present or distant, near or far in time. This shared characteristic enhances the precision of communication by providing contextual cues that aid in comprehension.

What is This?

Demonstrative Pronoun

One primary function of “this” is as a demonstrative pronoun. It is used to indicate a specific object or idea that is close to the speaker in terms of time, space, or relevance. For example, “I like this book” implies the speaker is referring to a book within their immediate vicinity.

Identifying and Specifying

This” is employed to specify or identify a particular item, person, or concept in conversation or writing. It brings attention to something specific, enhancing clarity for the audience. For instance, “This car is faster than the others” directs attention to a particular car in a group.

Introducing a Singular Idea

In discussions or presentations, “this” can be used to introduce a singular idea or point. It signals that the speaker is about to elaborate on a particular concept. For instance, “I want to discuss this idea further” indicates a focused exploration of a specific notion.

Emphasizing the Immediate

When used in conjunction with a verb or adjective, “this” emphasizes the immediacy or intensity of an action or quality. For example, “She was so happy about this unexpected gift” emphasizes the immediate joy resulting from the gift.

Referring to the Current Topic

In both spoken and written discourse, “this” can be employed to refer to the current topic of discussion. It serves as a way to connect sentences or thoughts seamlessly. For instance, “I enjoyed the movie. This surprised me because I prefer comedies” links the speaker’s enjoyment to the surprising nature of their preference.

Caution: Ambiguity and Overuse

While “this” is a versatile tool in English, its overuse or ambiguous application can hinder communication. Ambiguity may arise when it is unclear what “this” is referring to, leading to confusion for the audience. Writers and speakers should strive for clarity by providing sufficient context when using “this.”

Example: Ambiguous Use

Consider the sentence “I can’t believe this.” Without additional context, it is unclear what the speaker is referring to, introducing ambiguity. It could be an event, a statement, or an object, leaving the audience puzzled.

What is This

Examples of Using “This”

  1. This book is really interesting.
  2. This movie is my favorite of all time.
  3. This moment is unforgettable.
  4. This problem seems challenging.
  5. This idea could revolutionize the industry.

What is That?

In the English language, the word “that” serves various functions, playing roles as a demonstrative pronoun, a relative pronoun, a conjunction, and more. Understanding when to use “that” involves recognizing its diverse functions in different contexts.

What is That

1. Demonstrative Pronoun: Identifying and Pointing Out

One primary usage of “that” is as a demonstrative pronoun, pointing to a specific object or objects. It helps in distinguishing between items, emphasizing distance or separation. For example, “That book on the shelf is mine,” implies a particular book that is not only identified but also located at a distance.

2. Relative Pronoun: Adding Information to Nouns

“That” functions as a relative pronoun, connecting dependent clauses to nouns. In this role, it introduces essential information about the noun it refers to. For instance, “The car that is parked in the driveway belongs to John” adds essential details about the specific car being discussed.

3. Conjunction: Joining Clauses and Sentences

When used as a conjunction, “that” connects independent and dependent clauses. It is employed in formal writing to introduce subordinate clauses. In the sentence, “She insisted that he accompany her,” “that” introduces the dependent clause, indicating the nature of her insistence.

4. Expressing Purpose or Result: Clarifying Intent

“That” is employed to express purpose or result. For instance, “He worked so hard that he earned a promotion” emphasizes the cause-and-effect relationship between his hard work and the subsequent promotion.

5. Expressing Emphasis: Intensifying Statements

In some cases, “that” is used for emphasis, intensifying a statement or emphasizing a particular aspect. For example, “I didn’t just say she was talented; I said that she was exceptionally talented,” highlights the degree of talent being discussed.

6. Indicating Restriction: Specifying Limitations

“That” can also be used to indicate restriction or limitation. In sentences like “There are books that you cannot borrow,” “that” specifies the subset of books that are not available for borrowing.

Examples of Using “That”

  1. That car is so sleek and stylish.
  2. That song brings back memories.
  3. That mountain in the distance looks majestic.
  4. That restaurant serves delicious food.
  5. That concept is difficult to grasp.

Difference Between This and That

  1. Definition:
    • This: Refers to something specific or near in space or time.
    • That: Refers to something specific but farther in space or time.
  2. Demonstrative Usage:
    • This: Used to point to something nearby or immediate.
    • That: Used to point to something more distant or removed.
  3. Temporal Aspect:
    • This: Typically used for the present or near future.
    • That: Often used for the past or a more distant future.
  4. Spatial Aspect:
    • This: Refers to something close or within reach.
    • That: Refers to something farther away or beyond immediate reach.
  5. Closeness in Conversation:
    • This: Used when discussing something currently relevant.
    • That: Used when referring to a topic discussed earlier or in a more distant context.
  6. Emphasis:
    • This: Implies a focus on the present or immediate.
    • That: Suggests a focus on something more distant or removed.
  7. Examples:
    • This: “This book is interesting.”
    • That: “That movie was amazing.”
  8. Demonstrative Pronouns:
    • This: Often used as a demonstrative pronoun to represent something nearby.
    • That: Used as a demonstrative pronoun for something more distant.
  9. Degree of Familiarity:
    • This: Implies a sense of familiarity or proximity.
    • That: May suggest a degree of separation or unfamiliarity.
  10. Context Sensitivity:
    • This: Tends to be more contextually immediate.
    • That: May require additional context for clarity.
  11. Subjective Perspective:
    • This: Can carry a subjective or personal tone.
    • That: May sound more objective or detached.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1475158509000678
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/455813