HomeQ&ADemonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative Pronouns

Overview

"Demonstrative" comes from "to demonstrate," so it makes sense that demonstrative pronouns would demonstrate the location of the noun they replace. If you have several options in front of you, let´s say cakes, and someone asks you which one you want, you can respond with "this one" (the one close to you), or "that one" (the one far from you). "This one" and "That one" are both demonstrative pronouns.

Demonstrative Pronouns

Spanish has three categories of demonstrative pronouns to replace a noun, each with a masculine, feminine, singular, and plural form, each demonstrating the location of the subject.

1. To replace a noun or nouns close to the speaker

Close

Singular Plural
Masculine éste (this one here) éstos (these here)
Feminine ésta (this one here) éstas (these here)

Examples:

  • Mi coche es más rápido que éste. (My car is faster than this one.)
  • Yo quiero ésta aquí. (I want this one here.)
  • Siéntense en éstas sillas. (Sit in these chairs here.)

2. To replace a noun or nouns that are not very close to the speaker

Not Very Close

Singular Plural
Masculine ése (that one there) ésos (those there)
Feminine ésa (that one there) ésas (those there)

Examples:

  • ¿Te gusta ésa? (Do you like that one?)
  • Tienes uno, ése es para él. (You have one. That one is for him.)
  • Ésas son las más bonitas.(Those are the most beautiful.)

3. To replace a noun or nouns far from the speaker and listener (that over there)

Far Away

Singular Plural
Masculine aquél (that over there) aquéllos (those over there)
Feminine aquélla (that over there) aquéllas (those over there)

Examples:

  • Aquél allá es peligroso. (That one over there is dangerous.)
  • Aquéllos son los jefes. (Those over there are the bosses.)
  • Aquél es el Gran Cañón. (That over there is the Grand Canyon.)
Tildes Matter!

Note that demonstrative pronouns carry a tilde (written accent) so as to differentiate from demonstrative adjectives which do NOT carry a tilde.

Neuter Demonstrative Pronouns

Neuter demonstrative pronouns are used regularly in daily Spanish speech to refer to concepts, ideas, or something that is not known. Even though they end in "-o" (which may seem masculine), they are neuter because they do not replace a specific noun. They also do not carry a tilde (written accent mark).

Neuter Demonstrative Pronouns

esto (this)
eso (that)
aquello (that one)

Some common expressions that use neuter demonstrative pronouns:

  • En eso... (At that time...)
  • Todo esto. (All of this.)
  • ¡Qué es eso? (What is that !?)
  • En eso...(At that particular moment...)
  • ¿Y eso? (Why?)
  • En eso... (Then...)
  • Eso mismo. (Exactly.)
  • Eso es. (That´s it./ That´s right.)
  • Por eso... (That is why...)
  • Aquello era cómico. (That was hilarious.)

Exercises

1) Rewrite each sentence using all three demonstrative pronouns (ése, éste, aquél) to replace the noun as if it were in three different locations.

Example: La flor es bonita. -> Ésta es bonita. Ésa es bonita. Aquélla es bonita.

Hint

Remember to match the pronoun in gender and number!

  • Los leones son peligrosos.
  • La pizza es deliciosa.
  • La bolsa es la más bonita.
  • El rinoceronte es grandísimo.
  • Las flores son anaranjadas.

2) Translate each sentence into Spanish using one the three demonstrative pronouns (ése, éste, aquél) or the neuter demonstrative pronouns.

Example: What is that over there? -> ¿Qué es aquello allí?

  • That one is my house.
  • This car is better than that car.
  • That mountain over there is Mount Everest.
  • Those people there are from Japan.
  • This pizza is incredible.

Answers

Part 1

  • Éstos son peligrosos. Ésos son peligrosos. Aquéllos son peligrosos.
  • Ésta es deliciosa. Ésa es deliciosa. Aquélla es deliciosa.
  • Ésta es la más bonita. Ésa es la más bonita. Aquélla es la más bonita.
  • Éste es grandísimo. Ése es grandísimo. Aquél es grandísimo.
  • Éstas son anaranjadas. Ésas son anaranjadas. Aquéllas son anaranjadas.

Part 2

  • Ésa es mi casa.
  • Éste es mejor que aquél.
  • Aquélla es Mt. Everest.
  • Aquéllos son de Japón.
  • Ésta es increíble.
74955 views
updated AGO 9, 2012
edited by martha-sd
SpanishDict is the world's most popular Spanish-English dictionary, translation, and learning website.
© Curiosity Media Inc.