Difference Wiki

These vs. They: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sara Rehman || Published on December 12, 2023
"These" is a demonstrative pronoun used to identify specific items near the speaker; "they" is a personal pronoun referring to previously mentioned or known people or things.

Key Differences

These is a demonstrative pronoun, used to refer to specific items close in proximity to the speaker. It implies a certain closeness or immediacy. They, as a personal pronoun, refers to people or things previously mentioned or understood from the context, without indicating proximity.
Sara Rehman
Dec 12, 2023
In usage, these specifically points to a group of items or people that are near the speaker, often accompanied by a gesture or indication. They, however, is used to refer to a group of people or things in a general sense, without a necessary indication of proximity or visibility.
Sara Rehman
Dec 12, 2023
These often precedes nouns in a sentence, modifying and specifying them. For instance, "these books" indicates specific books close at hand. In contrast, they replaces nouns, standing in for the names of people or things, as in "they left early", where "they" represents certain people.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 12, 2023
The use of these can also imply a visible presence or immediate relevance, such as in a presentation or display. They, on the other hand, is less specific about the spatial or situational context of the referenced group, focusing more on the group itself rather than their location or immediacy.
Sara Rehman
Dec 12, 2023
These is particularly useful in distinguishing between items or groups in comparative situations, emphasizing closeness or direct involvement. They, however, is more general and can be used in a wide range of contexts, without the implication of closeness or directness.
Sara Rehman
Dec 12, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Pronoun Type

Demonstrative pronoun
Personal pronoun
Sara Rehman
Dec 12, 2023

Reference

Specific items near the speaker
People or things previously mentioned
Sara Rehman
Dec 12, 2023

Proximity Implication

Close in proximity
No proximity implication
Sara Rehman
Dec 12, 2023

Usage in Sentences

Often precedes and modifies nouns
Replaces nouns and stands on its own
Harlon Moss
Dec 12, 2023

Contextual Implication

Visible presence or immediate relevance
General reference without specific location
Janet White
Dec 12, 2023
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These and They Definitions

These

These refers to a specific group of items or people near the speaker.
These cookies are the ones I baked.
Sara Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

They

It represents people or things previously mentioned.
I met the neighbors; they seem nice.
Sara Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

These

It's used to identify particular items in close proximity.
Look at these pictures on my phone.
Sara Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

They

It's a pronoun replacing specific names or nouns.
The cats are hungry; they need to be fed.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 26, 2023

These

These emphasizes closeness or direct involvement.
These are the moments I cherish the most.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 26, 2023

They

They is used to refer to a group of people or things.
They went to the movies last night.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 26, 2023

These

It differentiates between near and far items or groups.
These apples are fresh, those are not.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 26, 2023

They

They can indicate an unspecified group.
They say it's going to rain tomorrow.
Janet White
Nov 26, 2023

These

These is often used in presentations or displays.
These charts show our quarterly growth.
Janet White
Nov 26, 2023

They

They is versatile and used in various contexts.
They have been working on the project for months.
Harlon Moss
Nov 26, 2023

These

Plural of this
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023

They

(the third-person plural nominative) A group of entities previously mentioned.
Fred and Jane? They just arrived.
Dogs may bark if they want to be fed.
Plants wilt if they are not watered.
I have a car and a truck, but they are both broken.
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023

These

Plural of this
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023

These

The plural of this. See This.
Sara Rehman
Nov 23, 2023

FAQs

What is the primary function of these?

To refer to specific items or people near the speaker.
Sara Rehman
Dec 12, 2023

How is they used in a sentence?

As a pronoun to refer to people or things mentioned earlier.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 12, 2023

Does these imply visibility of the items?

Often, yes, it implies the items are visible or present.
Janet White
Dec 12, 2023

Can they be used for abstract concepts?

Yes, it can refer to abstract groups or entities.
Sara Rehman
Dec 12, 2023

Is the usage of these limited to physical proximity?

Primarily, but it can also imply metaphorical closeness.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 12, 2023

Can these be used for distant objects?

No, it's for items or people close to the speaker.
Sara Rehman
Dec 12, 2023

Is they always plural?

Traditionally yes, but it can also be singular in gender-neutral usage.
Harlon Moss
Dec 12, 2023

How does they function in a narrative?

It refers to characters or items previously introduced.
Sara Rehman
Dec 12, 2023

Does the use of these change in formal writing?

The usage remains the same but might be less frequent.
Janet White
Dec 12, 2023

What is the singular form of they?

Traditionally "he" or "she," but "they" is also used as singular now.
Sara Rehman
Dec 12, 2023

Is they gender-specific?

No, it's gender-neutral.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 12, 2023

Can these refer to people?

Yes, it can refer to a specific group of people nearby.
Sara Rehman
Dec 12, 2023

Is there a singular form of these?

Yes, "this" is the singular form.
Harlon Moss
Dec 12, 2023

Can they refer to an individual?

Yes, especially for gender-neutral references.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 12, 2023

Can these be used in comparisons?

Yes, it's often used to compare nearby items with distant ones.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 12, 2023

Is there a possessive form of these?

No, these is only used as a demonstrative pronoun.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 12, 2023

Is they used in formal or legal contexts?

Yes, it's commonly used in various contexts, including formal.
Janet White
Dec 12, 2023

What is the possessive form of they?

"Their" is the possessive form of they.
Sara Rehman
Dec 12, 2023

How does context affect the use of these?

It's used based on the proximity and presence of the items or people.
Sara Rehman
Dec 12, 2023

Can they be used to refer to animals?

Yes, it can refer to groups of animals.
Sara Rehman
Dec 12, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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