Is there a difference between "these" and "those," or can they be used interchangeably?
In order to answer this question, it's important to understand the difference between "this" and "that," since "these" is the plural of "this" and "those" is the plural of "that."
One easy way to distinguish between "this" and "that" is in reference to distance of an object to the speaker. "This" is when objects are close, and "that" is when it is away. For instance:
- "This is my house." (A woman is pointing to the house beside her.)
- "That is John's house." (A woman is pointing to the house across the street."
In this same regard, "these" are things close to the speaker, and "those" are objects away. Such as:
- "These are my books." (A boy is pointing to the stack of books beside him on his desk.)
- "Those are Sally's books." (A boy is pointing to the books on his friend's desk.)