These vs They: Difference and Comparison

Pronouns are used instead of nouns in English Grammar, and demonstrative pronouns in a sentence are a pronoun that is used to refer to anything particular. These pronouns can be singular or plural and signify objects in space or time.

‘These’ is one of the demonstrative pronouns, and ‘They’ is one of the nouns in English Grammar. Knowing the difference and correct usage between these two types of nouns is very important for grammar polishing.

Key Takeaways

  1. Grammatical Function – “These” is a pronoun used to refer to specific objects or ideas in the present, while “they” is a pronoun used to refer to third-person plural subjects.
  2. Form and Usage – “These” is the plural form of “this,” while “they” can be used in the singular or plural form to refer to third-person subjects.
  3. Context and Clarity – “These” is used to specify an object or idea in the present context, while “they” refers to a previously introduced or implied subject.

These vs They

In a sentence, “these” can be both a subject and an object. “These” is a demonstrative pronoun. It is a term used to describe individuals who are physically present. While “they” can only serve as the subject of a sentence. “They” is a pronoun. When referring to two or more people, it is used.

These vs They

‘These’ is a demonstrative pronoun. A demonstrative pronoun, more precisely, stands in for something previously discussed or is known from context and is called the latter’s antecedent.

‘They’ is used to refer to a clause’s subject. In other words, it refers to two or more persons or objects and reflects the ‘doers’ of the action represented by a verb. For example, My parents are coming to town this week. They are going to travel by bus.

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison These They 
Parts of speech Demonstrative pronoun Pronoun 
Usage It is a pronoun that is used to refer to anything particular. It is used instead of a noun. 
Tense Do not have tenses. Future progressive. 
Definition They signify or experience a particular person or thing near at hand. They are used to refer to two or more people. 
Example ‘These’ are my paintings. ‘They’ are my friends. 

What is These?

‘These’ is known as demonstrative. To refer to people and things, we use the words like this, these, etc. The term ‘these’ is the plural of ‘this.’ It is used with plural nouns. For example:

  1. You can refer to one of these books. (these+ plural noun)
  2. I need to complete these assignments I was given. (these+ plural noun)
  3. Let me count these boxes. (these+ plural noun)
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Demonstratives can also be used as pronouns. We may omit the noun following the word if the subject or object is obvious. For example:

  1. Can you pass me these? (It’s clear that ‘these’ refers to the thing someone is talking about)

We also use ‘these’ when referring to ideas or things. For example:

  1. We are going to watch these horror movies in a week.
  2. We have looked through the catalogue of curtains. Do you like these colours?
  3. These are the things you would need for trekking.
  4. These are books for journalism.

‘These’ also point out things close to the speaker. For example:

  1. Would you look at these colours?
  2. I will paint these boxes.
  3. I have to post these letters.
  4. I have to refer to these question papers.

What is They?

The term ‘they’ in English Grammar is a third-person pronoun. It is used for a group of people when they are referred together. For example:

  1. They were gathered together for a meeting in a public park.
  2. They asked about the status of your application fees.
  3. Raj and Shankar were born on the same day, so they celebrate their birthday together.

‘They’ is also used to give general statements. For example:

  1. They say God is everywhere.
  2. They say there are plenty of opportunities for those who try hard.

It is also used to refer to unspecified people or people in general. For example:

  1. In Australia, they have summer in December.

It can also be used as a single pronoun. For example:

  1. No one has to leave the auditorium if they do not wish to.
  2. Everyone knows what they are supposed to do when there is an exam.
  3. Everyone from the village knows they are welcome in our house any time.

‘They’ is objected to being used as an indefinite subject because it lacks an antecedent. ‘They’ is a common indefinite pronoun that is used in a wide range of situations.


Main Differences Between These and They

  1. ‘These’ is a demonstrative pronoun, whereas ‘They’ is a pronoun.
  2. ‘These’ refers to people who are present in person, for example: “These are my parents”, while ‘they’ is used to point to something which is not present in person, for example: “They are my parents.”
  3. ‘These’ does not have tenses, whereas ‘They’ is future progressive.
  4. ‘These’ is always plural, whereas ‘They’ can be used in a singular form.
  5. ‘These’ is used when the object can be touched physically, whereas ‘they can be used for anything, anywhere.
Difference Between X and Y 2023 04 25T165334.889
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Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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