Demonstrative Pronouns

  • Posted on: 30 June 2015
  • By: Tatiana Shutova

You have already mastered (more or less) the personal and possessive pronouns. The next type of pronouns we are going to speak will be the demonstrative pronouns.

A demonstrative pronoun is used to point out a noun.

Russian language as well as English has 2 types of demonstrative pronouns. The pronoun этот can be compared with English this and refers to something close to the speaker. The pronoun тот refers to something more remote and can be compared with English that. Compare:

Этот дом новый, а тот дом старый. - This house is new and that house is old.

The demonstrative pronouns function as noun modifiers (like adjectives) in the sentence. As all modifiers they must agree with the noun they describe in gender, number and case, i.e. change their form according to the noun's gender, number and case.This means that they have masculine, feminine and neuter forms in the singular and one form in the plural (for each case):

Masculine э́тот тот дом this/that house
Feminine э́та та машина this/that car
Neuter э́то то письмо this/that letter
Plural э́ти те студенты these/those students


The pronouns этот/тот, эта/та, это/то, эти/те answer the questions Какой? Какая? Какое? Какие?

Какой дом? Этот/тот дом. - Which house? This/that house.

Какая машина? Эта/та машина. - Which car? This/that car.

Какое письмо? Это/то письмо. - Which letter? This/that letter.

Какие студенты? Эти/те студенты. - Which students? These/those students.


We have learned that the English This is and These are are usually translated into Russian as Это ... .

This indeclinable это should not be confused with the demonstrative pronoun это (the Nominative neuter form of этот). Compare:

Это новый дом./This is a new house. - Этот дом новый./This house is new.

Это новая машина./This is a new car. - Эта машина новая./This car is new.

Это новое письмо./This is a new letter. - Это письмо новое./This letter is new.

Это новые студенты./These are new students. - Эти студенты новые./These students are new.


You can also check:

Gender of nouns

Plural of nouns

The case system

and share the knowledge if this material is useful ;)