According to the
Harper's English Grammar, there are four
demonstrative pronouns in the English language: this, that, these, and those;
however, according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, there are five - what is
the fifth one?
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A demonstrative pronoun is a pronoun that
designates or points out something; for example: "Such are my beliefs." Some
claim that English has seven of them: the aforementioned five, plus yon and
yonder, as in: "Yon (or yonder) cow is a bull."
(1) The New Shorter OED (on CD-ROM) has this entry
for THEY:"Demonstrative: those (chiefly as antecedent). arch. ME." Admittedly,
it does class it as archaic, though.
(2) If one speaks of "yon/yonder" cow, why is
yon/yonder not an adjective? Demonstrative pronouns are NOT adjectives,
obviously, when used as subjects in "demonstrative" sentences. When in
conjunction with, and directly preceding a substantive/noun, they are
(3) But in the sentence "Yon cow is a
bull," wouldn't "yon" be acting as an adjective rather than a pronoun? Still,
your point works, because we could say "Yon is a bull" and mean "yon" to refer
to the THING (tho most often it might replace "there," instead).
(4) How about "themthar" as in "there's
gold in them thar hills" ? Also" that there" and "this here" as in "that there
fella can't hit nothin' in this here league" ?(Casey Stengel). I could go on
but perhaps had better not.
(5) The comments about "yon/yonder"
acting as an adjective are true - except for the fact that every pronoun in the
possessive case is adjectival - "my book," their socks," the cat is mine" - and
yet they are called "pronouns" in English nomenclature. In my Department's
grammar classes, students must call such words "PPPCFA" when identifying the
parts of speech - "Personal Pronoun, Possessive Case, Functioning
Adjectivally"! A mouthful, but one that reveals to them the inconsistency of
the name and the fluid, evolving nature of language.
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