Monday, April 20, 2009

Language Peeves - "These" vs "These ones"

From a reader -

Something I hear around here from two different people, both college grads, is the use of "these ones" rather than just "these."

The word these is a deictic pronoun which means that it is almost always accompanied by a gesture of some sort to indicate which particular objects the speaker is referring to.

When a speaker is pointing to an object and says "these ones" adding the plural pronoun one to the deictic pronoun these does not add any pertinent information (though it is actually a grammatically acceptable dialect variation).

By the way, the linguistic sense of the word deictic is defined by the Free Dictionary as, "Of or relating to a word, the determination of whose referent is dependent on the context in which it is said or written. In the sentence I want him to come here now, the words I, here, him, and now are deictic because the determination of their referents depends on who says that sentence, and where, when, and of whom it is said."

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