Latin Demonstrative Adjectives
Latin’s Demonstrative Adjectives function similarly to English’s. However, as with almost all Latin adjectives, they are fully declinable and must agree with the noun they modify in case, number, and gender.
To indicate nouns close to the speaker, “hic, haec, hoc" function like English’s “this" and “these." For example:
Hic liber bonus est. (This book is good.)
Hic vir magister est. (This man is a teacher.)
Hi fructus mali sunt. (These fruits are bad.)
Hae feminae altae sunt. (These women are tall.)
To indicate nouns far from the speakers, “ille, illa, illud" functions like English’s “that" and “those."
Ille liber bonus est. (That book is good.)
Ille vir magister est. (That man is a teacher.)
Illi fructus mali sunt. (Those fruits are bad.)
Illae feminae altae sunt. (Those women are tall.)
Unlike English, latin employs a third Demonstrative Adjective that can be translated into English as “that" or “those" but which has a different meaning than that implied by “ille, illa, illud." “Iste, ista, istud" which declines just like “ille, illa, illud" is used when the speaker intends distaste or contempt for the noun the it modifies. For example:
Iste vir regem necavit. (That man killed the king.)
Ista femina mala est. (That woman is evil.)
Notice that by using “iste, ista, istud", the word “that" takes on a more sinister, almost accusatory, tone. When translating from Latin to English, it is sometimes necessary to be sure that the contemptuous tone is properly conveyed since English does not employ more than one Demonstrative Adjective to indicate nouns some distance from the speaker. It does, however, make it easier for the Latin student to understand the tone of Latin text when “iste, ista, istud" is used in place of the more common “ille, illa, illud."