Please look at these two sentences:

  • Young people buy the red sports cars.


  • Young people buy these red sports cars.

Which is correct for you first, second or both?

  • 1
    "The" is not the same thing as "these". Which is "correct" depends on what you want to say.
    – Andrew
    Nov 11, 2017 at 0:41

1 Answer 1


We really need more context to know for sure, but I'll assume that you're talking about red sports cars which have already been introduced.

The answer is that both sentences are correct, but in certain contexts only one is, and the difference can be subtle. I'll explain.

If I'm generally introducing some red sports cars, I can then go on to say either sentence.

Corvette makes lots of red sports cars. Although older people tend to ignore then now, young people buy the red sports cars.


Corvette makes lots of red sports cars. Although older people tend to ignore them now, young people buy these red sports cars.

Those are both correct in that context because we're talking about cars which have already been mentioned.

However, one subtle point to notice is that it's a bit strange that we're giving a full description of "red sports cars" rather than simply saying "the cars" or "these cars". You could also just say "them", but in this example we've also talked about older people so it's a little bit confusing whether we're saying that young people buy the cars or the young people buy the old people. (Buying old people is nonsense, but we may still want to keep our grammar clear.)

As I said above, in some contexts only one of the sentences is correct. The main reason is the difference between "the" and "these".

"The" generally means something definite. (There are many reasons why nouns can be definite -- that we've talked about them, that they're unique, that we're giving a broader description like "the girl who broke my heart" -- and you can research that more on your own if you want to know it better.)

"These" describes a plural something which is spoken of like we're pointing to it or like it's "nearer" than something else ("nearer" as in space or time). Here are a few examples to clarify:

Do you like these shoes? (Someone is holding shoes, wearing shoes, or pointing to shoes.)

The first band's songs were terrible, but I like these songs a lot. (We're comparing songs played more recently to songs played earlier.)

I'm tired of these phone calls from people I don't know! (The speaker is complaining about calls which have been happening recently. It makes more sense to say "these" rather than "the".)

More than fifty thousand men became soldiers that year. These soldiers later fought a very important battle. (By using "these" to specify that we're talking about the soldiers just referenced, we give more continuity to our sentences. This is subtle and "the" would also be correct, although it's a little less clear because there are other soldiers, too.)

So, here are some examples where "the" and "these" are each more correct:

Corvette makes several colors of sports cars -- red, white, blue, and black. Young people usually buy the red sports cars. (There's no "these" feeling, but we are speaking specifically about the sports cars which were just mentioned.)

Corvette makes sports cars in a variety of styles. Young people usually buy these sports cars. (In this case we wish to say which red sports cars, and the speaker is probably pointing to them or has otherwise indicated a subset of red sports cars.)

Sports cars have been around for a long time, and young people usually didn't buy them. However, this is the new line and young people buy these sports cars.

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