Lexicon Valley: Does Sarah Palin employ demonstrative pronouns for emotional effect.

Lexicon Valley: The Key to Sarah Palin’s Appeal? Pronouns.

Lexicon Valley: The Key to Sarah Palin’s Appeal? Pronouns.

A show about the mysteries of English.
Sept. 8 2014 4:30 PM

Sarah Palin’s Pronouns

Listen to Slate’s show about the rhetorical effect of this, that, these, and those.

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Sarah Palin, yes, that Sarah Palin, speaks during the 2014 Republican Leadership Conference on May 29, 2014, in New Orleans.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Listen to Lexicon Valley Episode No. 42: Demonstratively Speaking

This, that, these, and those—the so-called demonstrative pronouns in English—seem innocent enough. They’re most commonly used to indicate a particular object or person in the physical world, as opposed to some other, perhaps similar, object or person. What car? That car. Which guy? This guy. But demonstrative pronouns can operate more subtly too. Ever notice that Sarah Palin uses a heck of a lot of them? What could possibly be behind all those thises and thats? Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo explain.

You’ll find every Lexicon Valley episode at slate.com/lexiconvalley, or in the player below:

Send your thoughts about the show to lexiconvalley@slate.com.