You know what a demonstrative adjective is, and you know what a pronoun is, but what is a demonstrative pronoun? Well, it’s pretty easy. Demonstrative adjectives and demonstrative pronouns look exactly alike. The only difference is that the adjectives are followed by nouns while the pronouns are not. But perhaps we should start from the beginning.
The four demonstrative adjectives are this, that, these and those. They are adjectives because they modify nouns. That means they come before nouns in a sentence. For example:
Demonstrative adjectives indicate exactly which noun the speaker means and where it is (or they are) relative to the position of the speaker. If the noun in question is nearby, he uses this (singular) or these (plural). If the noun is out of the speaker’s reach, he uses that (singular) or those (plural). Then he always follows the demonstrative with any other accompanying adjectives in their proper order and finally, the noun.
A pronoun is one word that replaces a noun, an entire noun phrase or string of noun phrases. For example, as opposed to saying, “All the king’s horses, all the king’s men, and not to mention all the little orphan children who wept bitterly at the sight of poor, broken, Humpty Dumpty,” you can just say, “They.” Or instead of saying, “The crazy old man from Kalamazoo who always talked about his rocket ship,” a simple “He” will suffice.
As mentioned before, demonstrative pronouns look exactly like demonstrative adjectives – this, that, these, those. But the difference between the adjective and the pronoun is that the adjective is always followed by a noun while the pronoun is not because it takes the place of the noun phrase. For example:
Typically, when you use a demonstrative pronoun, you will either need to indicate what you’re talking about by pointing or otherwise gesturing toward it, or your listener(s) will need to be looking at it as well. For this reason, demonstrative pronouns are mostly used in spoken English.
However, demonstrative pronouns can be used in written English if the context makes clear the noun to which the demonstrative pronoun refers. A list, for example, in close proximity to (either before or after) “these” or “those” would be clear enough.
Or you could refer to a description of an object, activity or situation as “this” or “that” if you do so immediately following the description.
So what is a demonstrative pronoun? It’s a single demonstrative word that takes the place of a noun, a noun phrase, a string of noun phrases, an activity, or a situation in both written and spoken English.