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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • (Afan) Oromo
      • Home Country:
      • Aaland
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2005
    • Posts: 475
    #1

    "this/that" and "these/those" -- how is it determined?

    It seems that in a situation like this (see below), English seems to use "those" rather than "these"? "Why does English use the "by the person you're speaking to" rule?
    `
    example:
    I see some flowers over here when I am talking to someone on the other side, I should say
    `
    "Look at those flowers over here!" instead of "Look at these flowers over here!", why?
    `
    Do natives speakers usually follow this rule, or it is also okay to not?, that is, I would not sound like a foreigner if I don't.

  1. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552
    #2

    Re: "this/that" and "these/those" -- how is it determined?

    I think you must have remembered something wrongly. In your example, if the flowers are near to you, you should say, "Look at these flowers over here".

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • (Afan) Oromo
      • Home Country:
      • Aaland
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2005
    • Posts: 475
    #3

    Re: "this/that" and "these/those" -- how is it determined?

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss
    I think you must have remembered something wrongly. In your example, if the flowers are near to you, you should say, "Look at these flowers over here".
    Then why would a native speaker say "Hey! Look at that!" to someone on the other side when he is holding something on his hand? I heard that in a movie; if a native speaker would not normally say that, then I must have heard it wrong.


    • Join Date: May 2006
    • Posts: 150
    #4

    Re: "this/that" and "these/those" -- how is it determined?

    This and these point to objects that are close by {Look at these flowers in my hand}. That and those point to objects farther away {Look at those flowers over there}.

  2. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552
    #5

    Re: "this/that" and "these/those" -- how is it determined?

    Quote Originally Posted by dihen
    Then why would a native speaker say "Hey! Look at that!" to someone on the other side when he is holding something on his hand? I heard that in a movie; if a native speaker would not normally say that, then I must have heard it wrong.
    Or the script was wrong. Or the director had misunderstood the script. Or the script had been edited and thus became inconsistent. Or the actor fluffed the line. Or...

    There are many reasons why this could happen, but in any case native speakers sometimes make mistakes as well.

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