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When we are talking about things we can say "these ones" or those ones". What is the difference in fact?

For example if I want to point with a index finger on two things, should I say "those ones" or "these ones", the same question about a case in which I am talking in front of students as a lecturer and I want to say that "those/these who want to get more marks should know a bonus chapter in the book".

  • Could you add definitions of "these" and "those? A dictionary might solve this. – user3169 Jun 18 '16 at 3:10
  • Please, according to Babilon dictionary: "These: pronoun used to indicate several specific people or things". "Those. pronoun used to indicate specific people or objects". – Judicious Allure Jun 18 '16 at 3:21
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    I'd look for a better dictionary. – user3169 Jun 18 '16 at 3:30
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    Does this help: "this is here", "that at there"? – Peter Jun 18 '16 at 3:37
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    @Assiduous I do not know why on earth this question was closed. It's a great question. Let's see if we can get you an answer. One thing I do know: none of the close voters could answer this question! ;-) – Araucaria - Not here any more. Aug 20 '16 at 16:57
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These and those are the plurals of this and that.

We mainly use these to talk about something closer, and those to talk about something that is further away.

We can use this but not these to introduce people, or to introduce your self on the phone, or to talk about things happening now:

Hello, this is Jane

Everything is so expensive these days

and you can use that or those to refer to something that happened in the past.

Things were simpler in those days

We can also use these to be emphatic about something.

No, these are the ones I want

and those to talk about something that is unimportant:

Leave those, we can deal with them tomorrow

or even to be dismissive about something:

I did not have sex with that woman Bill Clinton, 1998

  • The question seems to me to be asking about these ones and those ones, and marginally about these and those. The former pair are not widespread among speakers of American English. – Alan Carmack Jun 18 '16 at 15:08
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Partial answer.

According to Merriam-Webster, these is the plural form of this, and those is the plural form of that.

this
1 a (1) : the person, thing, or idea that is present or near in place, time, or thought or that has just been mentioned

that
2 a : the one farther away or less immediately under observation or discussion

So those ones refers to things away from you; these ones refers to things close to you.

Let's suppose ones are apples, and there are some apples next to you, and there are some apples away from you. You point to the apples close to you and say

I like these apples.

You point to the apples away from you and say

I do not like those apples.

Next, it should be

Those/these who want to get more marks should know a bonus chapter in the book

I cannot explain why. I think it is because the students are sitting away from you, or that you are referring to people away from you.

If you had a cage full of students and you were standing next to the cage and you point to the students in the cage, it might make sense to say

these who want to get more marks should know a bonus chapter in the book

But I admit, this sounds very strange.

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Roughly, if you can touch the things or persons with your finger, even if you have to stretch to touch them, you use this and these, otherwise you use that and those. Note that these ones and those ones are used by many who speak British English, Canadian English & Australian English, but not American English. In AmE we say these or those. For this, see Mailbag Friday: These ones and Canadian TV.

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