Which one of the following two examples is correct?

Lions eat gnus. This is because lions are predators.

Lions eat gnus. That is because lions are predators.

I always struggle to decide. I see people use both forms, but 'that' seems to be used more often.

  • 2
    Both are fine in this case — gut feel is that I'd use "This" for statements that are more general "universal truths" (This is because lions are predators) and 'that' more for specific scenarios that happen to be true at the moment. ("Jane doesn't have much money at the moment. That is because she was made redundant last month") Aug 4, 2021 at 20:09
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    @anotherdave Sounds like an answer to me. Aug 4, 2021 at 22:05
  • @the-baby-is-you yeah, I didn't have a chance to reference it fully or find examples so just left a comment. Please feel free to turn it into an answer :) If I get a chance later on I'll put some meat on the bones of it & turn it into an answer Aug 5, 2021 at 7:19

2 Answers 2


I would go with:

Lions eat gnus. That is because lions are predators.

In this example, "Lions eat gnus." is a situation/action/fact. You are referring back to that. There is no location information, nor any comparison items (this vs. that).


I'd use "this" here, and I'd use "this" most often.

You also here "it's because..."

I'm not actually sure that I hear "that's because" very often. I hear "that's why" all the time, but not "that's because".

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