Improve Your IELTS Writing Score by Understanding Demonstratives


Many students of English struggle to differentiate between four words: this, these, that, and those. These words are known as demonstratives, which is tricky to define because in and of themselves, the words have no meaning. Instead, they are used to refer to a previous person, object, concept, or set of things that has already been described. countries.

In real life, this can occur when physically pointing to or gesturing with an object. For example, if you were at a library, you could hand the librarian a book and say, “Could you please check this out for me?” In that situation, you are using the word “this” in place of the word “book.” Based on what is occurring at the time, the librarian knows that “this” is referencing the book.


In writing, it’s trickier.

When you’re using a demonstrative word without showcasing what you mean by your actions, ie, a demonstration, then you need to be very clear about the subject of the sentence. Let’s look at the top of this blog. The first paragraph introduces the four demonstrative words that are the topic of this blog. However, the very next sentence begins with the word “these.” As the reader, you knew that it referred to the four prior words because “these” was located in close proximity to what it was referring to.

This clarity is a must when writing, but especially when taking the IELTS. It is imperative that the grader of your essays knows what you are talking about at all times, so be particularly careful that you’re not confusing your reader with demonstrative words if you want to get a perfect IELTS score.

However, if you are confident in your ability to communicate ideas clearly in English, then you’ll want to include demonstratives in your writing, as this will increase your score by making your written English sound more natural. But what’s the difference between using this, these, that, or those?

The first difference is easy to explain. This and that are singular while these and those are plural. If you’re only talking about one object or are using the demonstrative to replace a noun that is considered singular, like music, then you would use this or that. The second axis is based on whether the object is near or far. It is slightly subjective, but the important thing to remember is that this can be near or far in terms of physical location, but they can also be near or far in time or emotional distance. Whenever you want to use a demonstrative, just think of this chart:


To help you, let’s go through some examples.

I went to the corner store yesterday. That was a waste of time, because there were no oranges for sale!

Store is singular and the event happened in the past, which is far away in time, so “that” is correct.

Are you looking for a new washing machine? These ones at the front of the store are flashier, but those at the back of the store are more economical.

In this case, “these” and “those” are used to differentiate between sets of washing machines, some of which are located nearby (these) and some are located far away (those).

If you’re still uncertain about demonstrative words, it can help work with an English tutor who can help you practice IELTS questions, whether for the general or academic IELTS. Helppo is the ideal place to find this type of help, as it has multiple advanced IELTS tutors who graduated from prestigious universities. You can meet with them at your convenience, enabling your studying to fit into your busy schedule. They can also walk you through IELTS writing exercises and craft lessons specifically designed for you and your needs. As you become more advanced in your study of English, they can also teach you other techniques for improving your score. Whenever you need a little guidance, book your first appointment for free by clicking below on one of Helppo’s affordable, accommodating tutors.