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Demonstrative Adjectives

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.

  1. What do you think of this dress? (Singular)
  2. May I borrow some of these cartons? (Plural)
  3. How much is that scarf for? (Singular)
  4. Can you see those kids? (Plural)


Pairs of Demonstrative Adjectives

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Along with the demonstrative adjective mentioned above, we have some special pair of demonstrative adjectives. Both these pairs are used to refer two things which have already been named or said in a given sentence. They are:
  • The one …. the other
  • The former …. the latter
  • On the one hand he is handsome on the other hand he is too impolite to talk to.
  • Candy and Ceaser are my favorite pets; the former being my dog and the latter being my cat.

Ordinal Numbers as Demonstrative Adjectives

The ordinal numbers are commonly used as demonstrative adjectives like 'first', 'second', 'third', 'fourth', 'fifth', etc. Such adjectives are infinite in numbers. The demonstrative adjective representing a number is easy to pick as except for a few of them, usually all end in –th sound, like fifth, seventh, eleventh etc. 

  • The sixth day of the week is Saturday. (In this sentence sixth is an ordinal number which also acts as a demonstrative adjective.)
  • In the late nineteenth century, the Civil War in the United States was fought.
  • After my third piece of pizza, I was satiated.

Examples of Demonstrative Adjectives

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We now know that demonstrative adjectives are the words of speech that are used to particularize a noun or lay stress on it.
  1. That plant is beautiful.
  2. This food seems really tasty.
  3. The first salary I received was of $700.
  4. I was stuffed soon after my third bread.
  5. Please pass me those sheets.
  6. I have to return these books back to my friend.
  7. For her twenty fifth birthday celebration, we bought her a beautiful diamond pendant.
  8. That bag is mine, this one is yours.
  9. The latter option will help us get more profits.
  10. On the one hand the weather is so nice to keep me inside on the other hand my mother has given me household work to be completed.
  11. The two options we have are wither to go for a movie or to go for lunch. Out of the two the latter is preferred more than the former by me.


Choose the correct demonstrative adjective for each sentence.
  1. _____ place is 100 miles away from here.
  2. I don’t know any of _____ people standing there.
  3. I haven’t seen any of _____ files you are talking about.
  4. He is the _____ to speak among all.
  5. The workers are repairing _____ shed.
  6. _____ are the people who helped me a lot last week.
  7. _____ clock needs to be reset.
  8. I did not like _____ shirt.
  9. _____ shirt is very dirty.
  10. I want _____ dress desperately.
  11. I want this chair to be moved to that room.
  12. I just loved _____ chocolates you sent to me.
  13. The _____ day of the week is Tuesday.
  14. The _____ month of the year is August.
  15. After the _____ slice of cake I was unable to eat more.
  16. On _____ hand I am not allowed to eat sweets on _____ hand the pie on the table seems so delicious to stop me.
  17. The _____ CEO of the company had taken it to new heights.
  18. Would you like to have _____ grapes?
  19. _____ house needs to be repainted.
  20. _____ babies in the queue have been waiting for long.
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