This / That [is the bus]

KonradBade

Senior Member
German
Hey,

could someone tell me the difference between this and that, please? Are they exchangeable?

Thanks! :)

<< Moderator note.
There are many threads that discuss this topic, usually with reference to a specific example.
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  • tastybrain

    New Member
    English - GA
    They absolutely are not. "This" refers to something very close to the speaker, usually being grasped or touched or at least within immediate reach. "That" refers to something further way, out of reach.

    You may be confused by the expression "this and that" which is used to describe various random things as in "She went to the shop and bought this and that."

    Hope that helps.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Welcome!
    The search box at the top of the page takes you to useful resources : a dictionary and a list of threads which contain the question word in the title. You will find much help there if you type this or that or this that into the box. Also, the forum requests that questioners provide a context for the question. Do you have a sentence in mind where the difference would help you understand the meanings better?
     

    KonradBade

    Senior Member
    German
    hmm, okay... but how close?

    Would you say: "Oh, look, this/that is the bus we have to take! We have to run to make him!" (You see the bus coming!)

    and what about immaterial thing. You are discussing about something: "Yeah, I totally agree in this/that point!"


    To Julian:

    sry, I tried the search box... but it was too confusing or better didn't fit my question (sentences above) ... I am sorry...
     

    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    hmm, okay... but how close?

    Would you say: "Oh, look, this/that is the bus we have to take! We have to run to make him!" (You see the bus coming!)

    and what about immaterial thing. You are discussing about something: "Yeah, I totally agree in this/that point!"


    To Julian:

    sry, I tried the search box... but it was too confusing or better didn't fit my question (sentences above) ... I am sorry...
    In the case of the bus, you could use either "this" or "that." The closer you are, the more likely you are to use "this," but it doesn't make much difference here. By the way, buses are always "it."

    The same is true of your second sentence, especially if it is referring to something said.

    The distinction between "this" and "that" is most important when referring to two different things at different locations. "This book [that I am holding] is mine; that one [on a shelf at the other side of the room] is yours."
     

    prr

    Senior Member
    English--USA
    At least in the USA, in your two sample sentences, either this or that could be used. You could say, "That is our bus!" or "This is our bus!"

    The idea with using both, is comparing two or more things. "I like this car over here more, it has much smoother curves," which could be said if you are looking at more than one car. Someone listening to you could respond, "Oh, I like that one over there."

    If you are holding something in your hand, you wouldn't say "that;" you'd say "this." But other than that, as long as you are talking about one thing only, you could usually say this or that.
     
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