Identifying Demonstrative Pronouns in English Texts

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11 Questions

What is the primary function of demonstrative pronouns?

To indicate the proximity of a noun to the speaker or reader

Which of the following is NOT a demonstrative pronoun in English?

It

How do the singular and plural forms of demonstrative pronouns differ?

They indicate the proximity of the referent to the speaker or reader

What is the primary function of demonstrative pronouns in relation to nouns?

To provide additional context about the referent's proximity

What plays a crucial role in determining the usage of demonstrative pronouns?

The context in which the pronouns are used

What is the primary challenge in identifying discourse segments for demonstrative pronouns, according to the text?

The lack of consensus on how to effectively divide discourse

What are demonstrative pronouns primarily used for?

Referring to entities within a given discourse segment

Which demonstrative pronoun is more likely to refer to abstract entities?

That

What is one of the challenges in identifying demonstrative pronouns?

All of the above

Which of the following is NOT mentioned as a factor in effectively navigating written material with demonstrative pronouns?

Identifying the author's writing style

What is a common function of the demonstrative pronoun "this"?

Pointing to concrete objects

Study Notes

Identifying Demonstrative Pronouns

Overview

Demonstrative pronouns are words that stand in for a noun, indicating its proximity and providing additional information about its referent. These pronouns are used to replace or point to a previously mentioned noun, providing clarity about its relationship to the speaker or reader. In English, demonstrative pronouns consist of "this," "that," "these," and "those."

Identifying Demonstrative Pronouns

To identify demonstrative pronouns in a text, you need to determine if the word refers to an entity or a discourse segment. Webber suggests limiting discourse segments to sentences and clauses, but the process of identifying these segments is complex due to the lack of consensus on how to divide discourse effectively. However, there are some general guidelines to follow:

Singular vs Plural Forms

Demonstrative pronouns come in singular ("this" and "that") and plural forms ("these" and "those"). This distinction helps to indicate whether the referent is closer or farther away from the speaker or reader, either physically or temporally.

Relationship to Nouns

Demonstrative pronouns often provide additional context about the referent, such as specifying if it is concrete or abstract, or indicating its proximity in terms of closeness and distance. For example, "this book" is closer than "that book".

Contextual Usage

Context plays a crucial role in determining the usage of demonstrative pronouns. They are typically used to refer to entities within a given discourse segment, allowing readers to understand the relationships between different elements of the text.

Specific Functions

In some cases, demonstrative pronouns can perform specialized functions, such as referring to abstract entities or propositions. Byron and Allen found that pronouns like "that" were more likely to refer to abstract entities, while "this" often pointed to concrete objects.

Conclusion

While identifying demonstrative pronouns can be challenging due to the complex nature of discourse analysis and the lack of consensus on segmenting discourse effectively, there are general guidelines to follow for recognizing these pronouns in text. By understanding their relationship to nouns, contextual usage, and specific functions, you can effectively navigate and engage with written material.

Learn how to recognize and identify demonstrative pronouns in English texts, which are words that replace or point to a previously mentioned noun, providing clarity about its relationship to the speaker or reader. Explore the distinctions between singular and plural forms, the relationship to nouns, contextual usage, and specific functions of demonstrative pronouns.

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