Spanish Grammar Guide

Demonstrative pronouns (e.g.: éste, ésas, aquellos)

An Overview of Demonstrative Pronouns:

Demonstrative pronouns refer to nouns that are visible at the time of speech. They allow us to avoid the repetition of the entire noun, e.g.: ¿Cuál mueble te gusta más? Me gusta más éste por el material y la forma ("Which piece of furniture do you prefer? I like this one because of its fabric and shape").

Using Demonstrative Pronouns

The following table shows the forms demonstrative pronouns can take:

English translation masculine

feminine

singular plural singular plural
this/these one(s) (here, close to speaker) éste éstos ésta  éstas
that/those one(s) (there, cose to speaker) ése ésos  ésa  ésas
that/those ones(s) (over there, far from speaker)  aquél aquéllos  aquélla aquéllas

As seen in this table, masculine singular forms do NOT end in -o.

Note that demonstrative pronouns often have accents in order to distinguish them from demonstrative determiners, though the Real Academía Española (1999) states that the accents don't need to be used except to avoid ambiguity. Just remember that if there is no following noun, you can use accents and it is likely you will see accents. Do NOT use accents if there is a noun immediately following the demonstrative.

Demonstrative pronouns agree in gender and number with the nouns they replace and refer to. Some of the demonstrative pronouns are illustrated in the following examples:

  • ¿Cuál es tu carro, éste o aquél? Ése es mío. 'Which car is yours, this one or that one? That one is mine.'
  • No sé si es ésa o aquélla la que vamos a comprar. 'I don't know if it's that one or that (other) one that we are going to buy.' (pointing to items)

Spanish also has a set of neuter demonstrative pronouns that refer to general concepts. You can use these particular demonstrative pronouns, eso, esto or aquello, to refer to a general idea or concept without gender/number agreement. They are never written with an accent, e.g.:

  • Aquello ahí es la biblioteca pública. 'That over there is the public library.'
  • Hay elecciones este año y eso es muy bueno. 'There are elections this year and that is very good.'

 

Spanish Grammar Guide » Pronouns
 
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