Which flag? – THIS flag. Demonstrative adjectives and pronouns DEMONSTRATE, which means “show.”
English has two sets of demonstrative pronouns: Do you want THIS apple? No, I want THAT apple.
But what if there are TWO apples? You wouldn’t say, “I want this apple s ” or “I want that apple s.” SURPRISE! In English, you have to change demonstrative adjectives to make them agree in number with the noun: I want THIS apple. BUT... I want THESE apples. I want THAT apple. BUT... I want THOSE apples. Spanish looks a little less strange now, huh?
Spanish Demonstrative Adjectives: masc. sing.este (this)ese (that) fem. sing. esta (this)esa (that) masc. pl. estos (these)esos (those) fem. pl. estas (these)esas (those) Watch out for the masculine forms: remember that, while the masculine singular ends in –e, the plural ends in –os. Don’t get mixed up and write “esto” or “estes.” Notice that the only difference between “este” and “ese”, “esta” and “esa,” etc., is the “t”. Take the “t” out of “este” (this), and you have “ese” (that). “A student of mine remembered it this way: ‘This’ and ‘these’ have t’s; in‘that’ and ‘those’ no t goes.” In other words, the words that mean “this” and “these” have t’s in them (este, esta, estos, estas); the words that mean “that” and “those” don’t have t’s in them (ese, esa, esos, esas).
Guess what: Spanish has THREE demonstrative pronouns: Do you want this apple? ¿Quieres esta manzana? No. Do you want that apple? ¿Quieres esa manzana? No. I want that apple way over there. No. Quiero aquella manzana.
“Este” (“this”) is near the speaker. “Ese” (“that”) is not near the speaker. “Aquel” (feminine: “aquella”) is far away. If you use all three, “aquel” is the farthest away. But if you’re not using all three, you choose “aquel” rather than “ese” if you want to show that something is far away. I want to ride in that (ese) car in front of the building, not in that (aquel) car that’s parked on the other side of next week!
ms = masculine singular fs = feminine singular mp = masculine plural fp = feminine plural ms este (this)ese (that)aquel (that way over there) fs esta (this)esa (that)aquella (that way over there) mp estos (these)esos (those)aquellos (those way over there) fp estas (these)esas (those)aquellas (those way over there)
What we’ve discussed so far is demonstrative ADJECTIVES. Adjectives describe nouns: Quiero esta manzana. – I want this apple. Now we’ll talk about demonstrative PRONOUNS. Pronouns take the place of nouns: No quiero esta manzana; quiero esa. – I don’t want this apple; I want that one. In writing, there is no difference between a demonstrative ADJECTIVE and a demonstrative PRONOUN in Spanish. Until recently, written accents were required on pronouns; therefore, you will often see words like éste, ésa and aquéllos in things written prior to the change. Now the only way to tell the difference is this: if there’s a noun after it, it’s an adjective; if there’s not, it’s a pronoun.
You would NEVER say, “Quiero ese uno” for “I want that one.” You’d just say “Quiero ese.“ Quiero ese libro. – Quiero ese. I want that book. – I want that one. Quiero esos libros. – Quiero esos. I want those books. – I want those. Quiero aquella silla. – Quiero aquella. I want that chair way over there. – I want that one way over there. Quiero aquellas sillas. – Quiero aquellas. I want those chairs way over there. – I want those way over there.
Esto, eso, and aquello are neuter pronouns. What “neuter” means in this case is that the pronoun refers to a concept or an idea or to something that has not yet been defined or identified. It does not refer to a specific person or thing: I have two books. – I want that one. Tengo dos libros. – Quiero ese. In the above example, “ese” refers to “libro.” Juan is my brother. – I didn’t know that. Juan es mi hermano. – Yo no sabía eso. In the above example, “eso” (“that”) doesn’t refer to Juan or brother; it refers to the fact that Juan is my brother. Since the pronoun does not refer to a masculine or feminine person or object, you use the neuter form.