Demonstrative adjectives are the ones that are used to indicate the noun. They are within a close proximity of a particular noun in a given sentence. They are actually helpful when we want to be clear in our sentence as to which noun or thing are we talking about. Demonstrative adjectives point out the words in a sentence or emphasize their importance.
- This is a very nice dress.
- These flowers smell nice.
- Do not lean on that rod.
- I loved that pie a lot!
To indicate a specific jersey that Anna wants Rhea to look at, Anna points to the jersey and asks "What do you think of this jersey." And Rhea might reply, "I don't like that jersey". The words ‘this’ and ‘that’, demonstrate or indicate nouns in relation to the speaker, the fact that the listener knows about what the speaker is specifically trying to convey. Sometimes they are also used simply to emphasize and lay extra stress on the object which is being talked about.
In other words we can say, that these kind of adjectives designate a particular noun being opposed to general noun with preface ‘a’, ‘the’ or ‘an’. Along with making a reader clear of the object being referred to, it also allows the listener or the reader to form a psychological image of the sentence or the speaker or even depicts a particular noun in question.
The commonly used such adjectives are: this, that, yonder, yon, former, latter, these, those. They are under use in both singular and plural forms.
- This flower is beautiful.(Singular)
- These flowers are pleasant.(Plural)
Sometimes the demonstrative adjectives are been confused with demonstrative pronouns. Such common words are this, that, these, those. These are the words which lie commonly under both the categories: demonstrative pronouns as well as demonstrative adjectives. But the difference is seen in the sentence and use that has been made for each.
When used as Demonstrative Pronouns, there is no noun the subject is referring to or the noun is invisible. Example: did you see that, do not take this. Basically, they only stand as pronouns all alone but they do not modify the pronouns or nouns. When used as Demonstrative Adjectives, they refer to a particular noun where the noun is being stressed. They are always followed by the noun that they’re being talked about. Example: that is a really nice necklace, these smell foul.
In addition to this we also have numeral form of demonstrative adjectives. The numbers like first, fifth, thirteenth etc. can also be referred to as demonstrative adjectives similarly being ordinal numbers. Example: he is the first to speak.
Basically demonstrative adjectives are applied to answer the “which?” question about the noun or pronoun by directly pointing it, along with indicating the nearness of the speaker and the person object being referred to.
The most commonly used Demonstrative adjectives in singular form are:
- This - It is used to modify nouns of singular form. ‘This’ refers to something very near. Ex: This sweater I'm holding is very old.
- That - It is also used to modify noun of singular form. ‘That’ refers to something which is farther away. Ex: That dog is so adorable.
- Former - ‘Former’ refers to something or someone from the past. Ex: The former Prime Minister of America was Mr. George W Bush.
- Latter - ‘Latter’ refers to something lastly said or in the beginning of something. It might also refer to the second thing of the two mentioned or said. Ex: The latter statement seems false to me.
- Yon & Yonder - Both ‘yon’ and ‘yonder’ show a greater distance between the speaker and the object being referred to. These words have now fallen out of common use. Ex: Yon dungeon dark. Brian, off you go into the wild blue yonder flying high into the sky.
The commonly used Demonstrative adjectives in plural form are:
- These - It is used to point out something close by. It is similar to ‘this.’ The difference is: ‘this’ is used for singular nouns while ‘these’ are used for plural nouns. Ex: These shoes fit me very well.
- Those - It is used to point out something farther away. It is similar to ‘that.’ The difference is: ‘that’ is used for singular nouns while ‘those’ are used for plural nouns. Ex: Those shoes are too expensive.
- What do you think of this dress? (Singular)
- May I borrow some of these cartons? (Plural)
- How much is that scarf for? (Singular)
- Can you see those kids? (Plural)