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".

  • 2
    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
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 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. Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 11:59
  • 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
    – Mou某
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 2:28

4 Answers 4


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? Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 11:56
  • 2
    No. Delete it from your flashcard deck. Commented Oct 20, 2016 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.) Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 15:36

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.

  • 2
    生於斯, 長於斯 (born in this place, growing up in this place) . 斯 means "this"
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 20:54

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
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 5:18

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... Commented Oct 22, 2016 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 . Commented Oct 22, 2016 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. Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 15:37
  • 慢條斯理 is a Chengyu, so 斯 is still used.
    – Angli Xue
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 8:10

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