Demonstrative Pronouns: こ, そ, あ, ど

Demonstrative pronouns are indispensable in both Japanese and English. Mastering these pronouns in Japanese, referred to as "Ko So A Do," is crucial for beginners. They play a pivotal role in indicating places, directions, people, and various other contexts. Throughout your studies, you'll come across them frequently. But why "Ko So A Do"? It's a question worth delving into to understand their significance.

PronounMeaning
Refers to something near the speaker
Refers to something near the listener
Refers to something far from both the speaker and the listener
Interrogative

Kono | Sono | Ano | Dono

JapaneseEnglish
このThis (Near The Speaker)
そのThat (Near The Listener)
あのThat (Far From Both)
どのWhich?

この いえ です。 - This house.

その いえ です。 - That house.

あの いえ です。 - That house over there.

どの いえ ですか。 - Which house?

Kore | Sore | Are | Dore

JapaneseEnglish
これThis (Thing Near The Speaker)
それThat (Thing Near The Listener)
あれThat (Thing Far From Both)
どれWhich (Thing)?

これ は くるま です。 - This is a car.

それ は くるま です。  - That is a car.

あれ は くるま です。  - That over there is a car.

どれ は くるま ですか。  - Which is the car?

Kochira | Sochira | Achira | Dochira

JapaneseEnglish
こちらHere (This Direction)
そちらThere (That Direction)
あちらOver there (That Direction)
どちらWhere? (Which Direction?)

Note: Kocchi, Socchi, Acchi and Docchi are informal versions.

こちら に きました。 - Came here.

そちら へ いきました。 - Went there.

あちら へ いきました。 - Went over there.

どちら へ いきましたか。 - Where did they go?

Koko | Soko | Asoko | Doko

JapaneseEnglish
ここHere (This Place)
そこThere (That Place)
あそこOver there (That Place)
どこWhere? (Which Place?)

  ここ は びょういん です。 - Here is a hospital.

そこ は びょういん です。 - There is a hospital.

あそこ は びょういん です。 - Over there is a hospital.

びょういん は どこ ですか。 - Where is the hospital?

Konokata | Sonokata | Anokata | Donata

JapaneseEnglish
このかたThis person
そのかたThat person
あのかたThat person over there
どなたWho? (Polite Form)

Note: In Japanese, it is always preferable to refer to others by their names in their presence. If you do not know their name, it is recommended to ask. Therefore, except for どなた (The polite form of だれ), it is not recommended to use these forms.

このかた の なまえ は マリア です。 - This person's name is Maria.

そのかた の おなまえ は なんですか。 - What is that person's name?

あのかた の なまえ は。 - That person's name is?

いしゃ は どなた ですか。 - Who is the doctor?

Koitsu | Soitsu | Aitsu | Doitsu

JapaneseEnglish
こいつThis guy
そいつ That guy
あいつ That guy over there
どいつWho? (Informal | Pejorative)

Note: This is the pejorative form of Konokata, Sonokata, Anokata and Donata, generally used in informal contexts to refer to third parties.

Konna | Sonna | Anna | Donna

JapaneseEnglish
こんなLike this
そんなLike that
あんなLike that over there
どんなWhat kind?
JapaneseEnglish
このようなSuch as this
そのようなSuch as that
あのようなSuch as that over there
どのようなHow?

Note: The second form is the polite version of the first, with the same meaning.

こんな おいしい すし を まいにち たべた  -  い です。- I want to eat delicious sushi like this every day.

そんな たかい テレビ は かえません。 -  I can't buy an expensive TV like that.

あんな うつくしい まち に すみたい です。 -  I want to live in a beautiful city like that.

どんな しごと を しましたか。 - What kind of work did you do?

Kou | Sou | Aa | Dou

JapaneseEnglish
こうLike this
そうLike that
ああLike that over there
どうHow?

こう すれば できます。 -  If you do it like this, you can do it.

そう すれば たぶん できます。 -  If you do it like that, maybe you can do it.

ああ すれば できない でしょう。 -  If you do it like that, you probably can't do it.

どう すれば いい ですか。 -  How should I do it?

Konata | Sonata | Anata | Donata

JapaneseEnglish
こなたThis person or you
そなた That person or you
あなた That person or you
どなた Who?

Note: This is the archaic form of Konokata, Sonokata, Anokata, all of which have the sense of the word “you.” However, the only one still widely used is Anata, meaning “you.” Though somewhat rare, Konata and Sonata can be found in certain literary contexts such as manga.