Why these and not those?

These days a lot of people like to use smartphones and tablets. Those are popular because they can connect to the Internet.

OK so our writer is using those as a substitute for smartphones and tablets. However, it would have been better to use these:

  • These days a lot of people like to use smartphones and tablets. These are popular because they can connect to the Internet.
  • (= all smartphones and tablets)

Notice that these does not change the meaning of smartphones and tablets. Use those only when you want to change the meaning of the noun you’re replacing. (next example)

Substituting and focusing on things

  • These days a lot of people like to use smartphones and tablets. Those that are connected to the Internet enable users to shop online and play games with friends in other countries.
  • (= a specific subset of smartphones and tablets)

In this case those refers to a new, narrower meaning of smartphones and tablets.

Substituting and focusing on people

Those is also often used to refer to a subset of people:

  • These days a lot of people like to use smartphones and tablets. Those who connect their gadgets to the Internet are able to shop online and play games with friends in other countries.
  • (= a specific subset of people)

Relative clause or participle clause?

In the previous two examples, notice that those is followed by a relative clause:

  • Those that are connected to the Internet.. 
  • Those who connect their gadgets to the Internet..

In this case it is also possible to avoid the relative clause using a so-called participle clause:

  • Those connected to the Internet..
  • ( _ed when the relative clause is passive!)
  • Those connecting their gadgets to the Internet..
  • ( _ing when the relative clause is active!)

No substitution

In our featured image, children’s author Roald Dahl uses those at the beginning of a sentence, not as a substitute for something in a previous sentence, but as a way to introduce a new subject – people who do not believe in magic. This is also possible but belongs more to the world of narrative than to academic writing.

  • Those who do not believe in magic will never find it.
  • (= some, not all people)

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