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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > "This" and "That": Idiomatic uses?    

"This" and "That": Idiomatic uses?


"This" and "That": Idiomatic uses?
I am just trying to understand the use of "this" and "that" at a level a little bit more advanced. Why "that" is preferred in expressions such as "isn´t THAT typical? "having said THAT" or "enough of THAT"? Could "that" be replaced by "this" in such instances? or are these expressions idiomatic and so cannot be changed? Why we say "THAT´s life" but "THIS is the life"?. Are there any grammar rules regarding this use of "This" and "that " that I don´t know?
Thanks in advance!

16 Oct 2023      

United States

I generally say using "this" brings closer to you and the current situation versus "that" separating it more from you or the current situation.
"This is life."  I am referring to my situation (the life I am currently experiencing)
"That�s life."  Referring to someone else�s situation or a situation I am trying to distance myself from.

16 Oct 2023     

Russian Federation

As I know, we can use THIS about something we are going to say or do in the future: Listen to this! The news is all over the net!
Another example: I can tell you this: every cloud has a silver lining.
THAT refers to something that�s in the past. Something you�ve already said and done. For instance: Extreme sports? Well, I don�t know about that, it could be risky. You say THAT to refer to extreme sports, which has been mentioned before. Or in a dialogue: Shall we choose the first option? - Yes, let�s go with THAT. Here you are talking about something that your partner has already mentioned.
To sum up: THIS looks forward and into the future. THAT looks back and into the past. 

17 Oct 2023     


Thanks to you both!!
I think it makes sense nowSmile

20 Oct 2023