Demonstrative Pronouns

Spanish demonstrative pronounsPronombres demostrativos

Demonstrative pronouns (this one, that one, the one[s], these, those) refer to a previously-mentioned noun in a sentence. Spanish demonstrative pronouns are more complicated than their English counterparts, because there are three different sets and because they must agree in gender and number with the noun they replace.

The three sets of Spanish demonstrative pronouns are

  1. éste (this one – something near the speaker)
  2. ése (that one – something near the listener)
  3. aquél (those – something far from both the speaker and listener)

Note that Spanish demonstrative pronouns are the same as demonstrative adjectives with the addition of an accent over the stressed vowel.* There is also a neuter demonstrative pronoun in each set.

    this that that
masculin singular   éste ése aquél
feminine singular   ésta ésa aquélla
masculin plural   éstos ésos aquéllos
feminine plural   éstas ésas aquéllas
neuter   esto eso aquello

Demonstrative pronouns can replace a demonstrative adjective + noun, or simply refer back to a previously-mentioned/implied noun without repeating its name.

Por ejemplo …

Estas naranjas cuestan menos que ésas.   These oranges cost less than those.
¿Qué chica lo hizo, ésta o ésa?   Which girl did it, this one or that one?
Estoy leyendo éso.   I’m reading this (one).
Quiero mirar esta película, no me gusta aquélla.   I want to see this movie; I don’t like that one.
Todos los perros son lindos, pero prefiero éste.   All the dogs are cute, but I prefer this one.
Éstos son más caros que ésos.   These are more expensive than those.

Éste can mean "latter," while aquél can mean "former."

Luís y Ana van a ayudarnos. Aquél ya está aquí, y ésta llegará a las dos.   Luís and Ana are going to help up. The former (Luís) is already here, and the latter (Ana) will arrive at 2 o’clock.

Neuter demonstrative pronouns

Neuter demonstrative pronouns, also known as indefinite demonstrative pronouns, refer to unspecified or unknown nouns, situations, and ideas. Note that these never have an accent.

¿Qué es esto?   What is this?
Eso es imposible.   That is impossible.
Por eso, no puedo hacerlo.   Therefore (because of that), I can’t do it.
Aquello no es necesario.   That’s not necessary.

Place words

Each set of Spanish demonstrative pronouns corresponds with a different place word:

éste aquí   here
ése ahí   there
aquél allí   over there

* As of 2010, these accents are no longer required or even recommended by Real Academia Española.

Related lessons

Spanish lesson plans Spanish lesson plans

Learn French En français