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Use of This, That and It in English Grammar

Grammar is an essential component of language. Encouraging students to articulate their ideas clearly and to formulate and convey well-defined concepts is crucial. Grammar is more than just punctuation and spelling. It is essential to language because it enables people to form logical sentences and write. Therefore, having a thorough understanding of grammar, parts of speech and pronouns is important for acing language and English papers in government job exams.

Definition of Pronoun

Words that are employed in sentences in place of nouns are called pronouns. Pronouns are used to replace a noun in a sentence to avoid repeatition of nouns that are already used in the sentence previously. Although there are certain conditions that need to be matched while replacing a noun for a pronoun. The pronouns have to match the noun in terms of number, gender, and point of view. Pronouns are employed to improve the clarity, flow, and reduced awkwardness of our statements.

This, That, Is – Most Common Pronouns

A noun is substituted with a pronoun to break the monotony of sentences. To prevent the noun from being repeated in a paragraph or other piece of writing, again and again, pronouns are used. There are two ways to utilize pronouns: singular and plural. The usage of the singular or plural form of the pronoun is determined by the verb in a sentence.

People often confuse themself between “it” and “this” and possibly use them interchangeably. However, “it” and “this” differ drastically and their grammatical usage is different as well.

“It” is a demonstrative adjective and pronoun, whereas “this” is a third-person singular personal pronoun. This is the primary distinction between the two. Due to the variations in their grammatical classifications, these two terms also have different roles and meanings. Additionally, although the phrase can also be used to apply to people, “it” is primarily used with animals and other inanimate objects.

“That” and “Those” can be used as an adjective and a pronoun. “That” is the singular form of “Those”.

Example for “That” – Look at that man over there.

Example for “Those” – Look at those men over there.

As an adjective “that” can refer to either people or things.

  • This photograph is much better than that photograph.
  • That boy says that he is tired.

When “that” is used as a pronoun without a noun, it can only refer to things.

It – Grammar & Usage

“It” is the third-person singular personal pronoun. “It” is often used to refer to animals or non-living things.

It – Grammar & Usage
Purpose Example
“It” can be used as a subject and an object.
  • Object: The waiter brought a tray with two glasses on it.
  • Subject: The dog was taken to the vet since it looked ill.
“It” is also used as the object of sentence time, weather, and distance.
  • Time: It’s half past nine.
  • Weather: It rained last night.
“It” is also used as the subject when there is no identifiable doer or actor.
  • It is important to learn about history.
  • It is impossible to enter the castle without being seen.
“It” is used in cleft sentences to emphasize a particular part of a sentence.
  • It is the course which helped me to improve my soft skills.
  • It was the cat that knocked over the vase.

This – Grammar & Usage

“This” is a demonstrative adjective and a pronoun. Since “it” and “this” are mostly confused due to their functions as pronouns, we’d specifically look at “this” as a pronoun in the following table. “This” is used to identify a specific person or thing close by or being indicated or experienced

This – Grammar & Usage
Purpose Example
Identify a person/thing
  • This is the Spoken English Institute I told you about.
  • Is this Public Speaking Session taking place?
Introduce someone/something
  • This is my mentor Mr.Reuben Singh.
  • This is the best Institute to learn soft skills in the town.

Use of “IT” vs “THIS” Explained

Most people are confused about the difference in usage between “It” and “This”. They struggle to decide when to use which one among them. While using them, keep in mind that “It” is used to identify non-living things and animals, while “this” can be used to introduce and identify people, objects, or animals of any gender. The choice between “it” and “this” depends on the context, whether you’re pointing out a specific individual, introducing someone, or identifying a caller.

Specific Scenarios

  • When introducing someone, you can use “this” to emphasize the person’s presence.
  • Example: This is my mother
  • When identifying a caller on the phone, you can use “it” to refer to the caller’s identity.
  • Example: It is my mother.

Gender Distinction

  • “It” as a pronoun is utilized with non-living things and animals, representing a neuter gender.
    • Example: The book is on the shelf. It is a mystery novel.
    • Example: The cat is sleeping. It looks peaceful.
  • “This” as a pronoun can be employed with all genders, including female, male, and neuter.
    • Example: I want to introduce you to my friend. This is Sarah.
    • Example: This car is my new ride.

That – Grammar & Usage

“That” happens to be one of the most used English words. We use “that” to introduce defining relative clauses. We can use “that” instead of who, whom or which to refer to people, animals and things. “That” is more informal than who or which. Some of its uses are:

As a demonstrative adjective

As a demonstrative adjective, “that” is used to point out people or things. It is followed by a singular noun.

  • Who is that boy?
  • Give me that book.
  • What was that noise?

As a demonstrative pronoun

“That” serves as a demonstrative pronoun, when used without the following noun.

  • Who gave you that?
  • Who said that?

As a conjunction

“That” is a subordinating conjunction. It can be used to introduce noun clauses, adjective clauses or adverb clauses.

  • She told me that she was not coming. (Here “that” introduces the noun clause ‘she was not coming’.)
  • The museum that we visited yesterday was very good. (Here “that” introduces the adjective (relative) clause ‘we visited yesterday’.)
  • We eat that we might live. (Here “that” introduces the subordinating adverb clause of purpose ‘we might live’.)

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What is a pronoun?

A pronoun is used in the place of a noun. It substitutes the noun in a paragraph or piece of writing to avoid repetition of the noun.

How do "this," "that," and "it" function as pronouns?

"This" and "that" are third-person singular personal pronouns used to refer to specific people or things, while "it" is a pronoun used for non-living things and animals.

Can "this" and "that" be used interchangeably?

No, "this" and "that" have distinct functions. "This" is used for introducing and identifying people or things nearby, while "that" is used for introducing and identifying things farther away.

How is "it" used in English grammar?

"It" is a pronoun used to refer to non-living things and animals, serving as a subject, object, and in impersonal expressions.

How is "this" used to introduce someone or something?

"This" is used to identify a specific person or thing close by or being indicated or experienced.

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I'm a content writer at Adda247, specializing in blog writing for National and State Level Competitive Government Exams for the Teaching Vertical. I research and curate genuine information to create engaging and authenticate articles. My goal is to provide valuable resources for aspiring candidates while promoting Adda247's mission.

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