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What are the differences between these three, 斯 vs 这 vs 此, and any other characters or words for "this" in Mandarin Chinese?

I'm just a beginner and I've noticed at least these few characters are in my Memrise flashcard courses all with English translation of "this".

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    the whole question must be contained in text, if part of it is in heading it must be repeated in following text – user6065 Oct 20 '16 at 9:17
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    grammars when discussing demonstrative pronouns (指示代词)only list 这 and usually do not even mention 斯 and 此,此 used in classical Chinese and bookish style, official documents (e.g.此地、此后、此间、此刻、此前、此人)also in common sayings,expressions like 此地无银三百两,此起彼伏,此外, 斯 in the meaning of "this" appears to have extremely low usage frequency – user6065 Oct 20 '16 at 9:46
  • Yes 这 was the only one I had known until I got deeper into the flashcard course of 1000 characters. I don't know the basis of how they chose the particular thousand they did. – hippietrail Oct 20 '16 at 11:59
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    I actually didn't know that 斯 could be "this" at all. – Enrico Brasil Oct 20 '16 at 13:09
  • I believe there is also 兹 - I've also seen dialect resources where they mention 兹 as being use, I.e.: 兹个、兹块、etc – user3306356 Dec 21 '16 at 2:28
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斯 is ancient Chinese language usage, and 此 is more used in writing language. 这 is most common nowadays.

  • Does 斯 have any uses in the modern language? – hippietrail Oct 20 '16 at 11:56
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    No. Delete it from your flashcard deck. – Enrico Brasil Oct 20 '16 at 13:10
  • I've found it used in a Facebook message from my Chinese friend in the idiom "慢條斯理". (I also have a hunch that it might be widely used in transliterating words from foreign languages too, in which case it wouldn't carry the meaning "this" or anything else.) – hippietrail Oct 25 '16 at 15:36
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斯 refers to a person mostly, as in 天將降大任於斯人也...

Interestingly, 这斯 in ancient Chinese means "this (bad) guy" in 水浒传, used by a rude guy frequently. As mentioned, it is an ancient word used in this way, don't use it in your daily life.

斯 have other use in modern Chinese, forming vocabulary like 斯文 which means well behaved or polite. Also for translating foreign words with their pronunciation, like Oscar to 奧斯卡.

这 is more commonly spoken than 此, and it can refer to almost anything that I thought of.

此 sound more like written script. If it is used in spoken communication, most likely it is a phrase or the speaker want to sound formal.

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    生於斯, 長於斯 (born in this place, growing up in this place) . 斯 means "this" – Tang Ho Oct 20 '16 at 20:54
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Nobody mentioned 该。 It is not clear to me where, at what point, 'this' becomes 'that'.

zdic says:该: 那,着重指出前面说过的人或事物。

前面 is close enough to be 'this' I think, although 该, when used like an English article, is mostly translated as 'the'.

该装潢公司提出, This decoration company suggests,

该体系适用于8层, This system can be applied in 8 levels,

该中心楼高8层, This centre is 8 stories high,

  • CCG has 斯人 (fml.) this person – user6065 Dec 14 '16 at 5:18
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I saw your comment, but I don't know why I can't comment on it

"I'm not sure whether 慢條斯理 counts as a compound word or a chengyu, but my Chinese friend just used it in a Facebook update. – hippietrail Oct 25 at 15:37"

慢條斯理 is a Chengyu, so 斯 is still used.

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斯 is old tone.don't use it in any situation.

这 is more like 'that' than 'this'.这是一个没有答案的问题-->it's a question that without an answer. use 这 only you mention before.

or when begin with 这,it's just mean 'this'.

此 often come with the object.此地-->this place. 此刻--> right moment. 此人-->this people. also 此 is fit in rhyme

  • Is 斯 maybe in some compound words or chengyu? If so it would still make sense for it to be in a flashcard course... – hippietrail Oct 22 '16 at 6:54
  • better not do that. link say it has the meaning of 'this'. I am not a linguist but i think no one use 斯 in daily life now . – gordon yang Oct 22 '16 at 18:06
  • I'm not sure whether 慢條斯理 counts as a compound word or a chengyu, but my Chinese friend just used it in a Facebook update. – hippietrail Oct 25 '16 at 15:37

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