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Difference Between These and They

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


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

These vs They

‘These’ is known as a demonstrative pronoun whereas, ‘They’ is known as a noun. In a sentence, a demonstrative pronoun is a pronoun that is used to refer to anything particular. A noun is a word that refers to a person, a place, an object, or a concept. Nouns may be used as the subject, direct object, indirect object, subject complement, object complement, appositive, or adjective in a sentence.

These vs They

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‘These’ is a demonstrative pronoun. A demonstrative pronoun, more precisely, stands in for something that has been 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 usually refers back to two or more persons or objects, and it usually 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 Used to signify or experience a particular person or thing that is near at hand. 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)

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 we are 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 catalog of curtains. Do you like these colors?
  3. These are the things you would need for trekking.
  4. These are books for journalism.

‘These’ is also used to point out things that are close to the speaker at the moment. For example:

  1. Would you look at these colors?
  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 welcomed in our house any time.

‘They’ is often 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’ is used to refer 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 in plural form, 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.
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