This is used to describe a singular countable noun and these is used with plural countable nouns. A countable noun has a plural form such as books, girls, boys, toys, etc. For example we say a book but six books or many books or some books or a few books. A non-countable noun has no plural form. To illustrate the use of the words “this” and “these”, consider the following sentences.
- This book is very interesting.
- These books belong to the public library.
- This glass is broken.
- These glasses need to be washed.
- We bought this car about three years ago.
- These cars will need to be serviced.
- I would like to buy this mobile phone.
- None of these mobile phones have the functions I am looking for.
- This bed has been untidily made.
- These beds are badly made.
Non-countable nouns such as tea, sugar, water, air, rice, anger, fear, money, salary, research, love etc. have no plural form and therefore are qualified with the word “this”. See the examples below.
- This type of anger is totally unjustified.
- This money belongs to my father.
- I find this salary too small to manage a decent living.
- This tea has no sugar in it.
- This coffee tastes better with cream.
- This rice is undercooked.
- You must overcome this unreasonable fear of cockroaches.
- This deep love you show your dog makes me jealous.
- Will this research that you do benefit mankind?
- This audience is very receptive to the concert.
“This” and “these” can be used to introduce people.
- Hello John, this is my father and this is my mother.
- These are my parents.
- These are my friends, Sally and Polly.
- Hello, this is Mary speaking. May I speak to Maria?
- These young men were in school with me.
- This is my husband Richard.
- These are my children, George and Ralph.
- This is the telephone company calling to see if your bill has been paid.
We also use this and these to show proximity as opposed to that and those. We use this and these for people or things near us, This points to something nearby, while that points to something “over there.”
- This restaurant is better than that down the road.
- This shop has better clothes than that shop next door.
- These shoes are more comfortable than those under the bed.
- I prefer these pink candles to those green ones.
- This school is better than that chosen by your parents.
- This food is better than that cooked by my mother.
- These flowers look fresher than those in the vase.
- These young singers are better than those of the church choir.
- This desk is hers while that desk is mine.
- Those trees are elms but these are oaks.
This and these can be used as pronouns as well. For instance,
- This is mine. That over there is yours.
- These are old shoes. Those there are newer.
- This is the result of your stupidity.
- These are the sins of our forefathers.
- This helps in learning English.
- These are insincere words spoken without any feeling.
- This is my last visit to Europe.
- These small issues are not worth wasting time over.
In conclusion remember that this is used with singular nouns and these is used with plural nouns. This and these refer to something near you, while that and those refer to something farther away.