Do you have examples of uses of "that" "those", etc... in a derogative way.

  • 4
    This is a comment because I do not know the grammar. It is done with inflection, "I can't believe you wore that to the office." The tone says that it was an inappropriate choice.
    – WRX
    May 3, 2017 at 18:29
  • Those people is sometimes used when the speaker wants to avoid naming exactly who they're talking about (maybe an ethnic minority), but still imply it. That lets them criticize a group while not explicitly saying so. For example, "Those people have no self-respect."
    – stangdon
    May 3, 2017 at 18:37

1 Answer 1


The question seems kind of broad, but I will briefly talk about it and that.

Imagine two girls, A and B. B is dating a man, C. A thinks C is ugly and not worth dating. Normally, we don't use that to refer to a person. We use the personal pronouns, like him or her. But we can use that to suggest that a person is less than human. I assume this is widely understood as derogatory.

B shows a picture of C to A.
A: I can't believe you're going out with that.

That would be stressed.

Imagine further that C comes over to visit A and B. Upon his arrival, A decides that she dislikes C more because, in her opinion, he's dirty and disgusting. We don't normal use it for people. Instead, we use he or she. But it can be used similarly to that above. Imagine that C shakes hands with A. Later, A might say

Ew. I can't believe it touched me.

It would be stressed.

  • It's not so broad, it's especially about the use of "that", "those", and small words that change the meaning subtly, but especially the ones I mentionned. It's simply open on other examples. If I use "that" + noun, is it the same?
    – Quidam
    May 3, 2017 at 20:46
  • Oh, you should provide specific examples in your post. That+noun can be derogatory. I will delete this answer soon.
    – Em.
    May 3, 2017 at 21:04

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