How to teach this, that, these and those

Learning demonstratives adjectives and pronouns early allows ESL students to be more specific with their language. We have two lesson plans focusing on this, that, these and those that you can find in the Nouns section of our library.

The use of this, that, these and those is very common in daily language. We feel that it’s worth making the investment in teaching the grammar concept to your students early, so that they can use it correctly when being specific in their language. Today, we would like to walk you through our two lesson plans and provide you with some strategies for using them to teach your ESL students.

Here’s a short video summary to warm you up:


N12.1 – This-That-These-Those – 1

In our first lesson we explain the basic differentiation between this/these and that/those. We examine that this and these are used for nouns that are close to the speaker and that and those are used for nouns that are far from the speaker. Of course, this concept is easier to explain by using illustrative examples with pictures. In addition, we examine that this and that are used for singular countable nouns or uncountable nouns and that these and those are used for plural countable nouns:
this-that-these-and-those this-that-these-and-those
We then introduce the concept of using this, that, these and those without nouns in sentence and question form and the construct of using demonstrative adjectives with time (e.g. this morning):
this-that-these-and-those this-that-these-and-those
To finalize the lesson we examine the use of that/that’s for something that has just happened or been said, and we provide ample exercises to review each grammar concept of the lesson.

N12.2 – This-That-These-Those – 2

In our second lesson we provide further practice of the demonstrative adjectives and pronouns and we introduce the use of the pronouns one/ones. For example: those croissants look delicious, I think I’ll have one (in place of a singular countable noun) and those shoes are expensive, those ones (in place of a plural countable noun). We close the lesson by combining the concepts of this, that, these and those with one/ones (e.g. this/that one, these/those ones):
this-that-these-and-those this-that-these-and-those

We hope that you enjoy teaching our this, that, these and those series as much as we do. Let us know how your students react to the lessons!


  • mercy says:

    April 14, 2015 at 4:17 am

    Hi sir/madam,your lesson is vert useful to my pupils,thanks a lot.

    • Kris Jagasia says:

      April 14, 2015 at 8:50 am

      No problem Mercy! Glad you enjoy it!

  • Nilakshi says:

    May 4, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    It was very useful for me and my students too. Thank you for explaining it clearly.

    • Kris Jagasia says:

      May 5, 2016 at 9:19 am

      Cheers Nilakshi, thanks for stopping by!

  • Jerry says:

    July 31, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Great article! I had a lot of trouble with this teaching my kindergarten kids in China, it’s tricky as they don’t have a direct translation for ‘these’ and ‘those’ in Chinese. I found this great little video on YouTube that helped, it was a cartoon of some singing skeletons and the whole thing had a little dance routine to it too which was perfect for TPR! The kids were singing it on the way out of the classroom too, I sent it to them for homework and now they all get it 100%.

    • Chris says:

      August 10, 2020 at 6:34 am

      Hi Jerry, thanks for sharing, that’s great!

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