Posted by: episystechpubs | March 9, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Demonstrative Pronouns

The last group of pronouns we’re going to cover is a tiny group called demonstrative pronouns. There are only four of them: this, that, these, and those. These pronouns, like their indefinite pronoun cousins, can also do double-duty as modifying adjectives. To determine which part of speech the word is, apply the same rule you do to indefinite pronouns: if the word stands alone, it is a demonstrative pronoun; if the word is coupled with a noun, it is a modifying adjective.


· Demonstrative pronoun: Sandra would love that! (The pronoun that stands alone.)

· Modifying adjective: Sandra would love that bracelet! (That modifies bracelet.)

· Demonstrative pronoun: This looks delicious. (The pronoun this stands alone.)

· Modifying adjective: This sandwich looks delicious. (This modifies sandwich.)

Note: In technical documentation, there is not a lot of room for demonstrative pronouns without a clear antecedent. When you send documents to the Editing department, you will often see questions such as: What is that? What does this refer to? In the business world, it is best to use your nouns and prevent the audience from having to guess what “these” or “those” are.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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