There are two words in Chinese that are both translated as “This” in English (这个 and ). What is the difference between them and how to use them correctly ?

  • 2
    Can you give an example where 本 is translated as "This"?
    – player3236
    Oct 28, 2020 at 12:10

2 Answers 2

  1. When 本 is used with an identity (person, company) it is exclusively referring to the first-person, and 这 is mostly referring to the third-person (some people do refer to oneself in the third-person)


这个人 (this person - the third-person)

这位法官 = this judge (the third-person)

这間公司 = this company (the third-person)

本人 = this person (the first-person) --> this person (I myself)

本官 = this judge (the first-person) --> this judge, (I myself)

本公司 = this company (the first-person) --> this company (our company)


[本 + identity] is not always a "humbling word" for example 本大少爺 means 'This young master (I)'

  1. 本 means 'this/ current' when it is used with time. The difference between [这个星期六,今個世紀 ,今年] and [本週六,本世紀,本年度] is the former is more colloquial and the latter is more literary

  2. '本地' is a compound word meaning 'local/ domestic' (adj) e.g. '本地品牌' or 'this land'; 本土 is a compound word meaning 'native' e.g. 本土品牌 or 'mainland' e.g. 日本本土

  • I was thinking of this as well, but I would not translate it to "this" in this context. It is worth it to say that 本 is only used in formal writing where the recipient is of higher status than you. In this case, 本 corresponds to 貴 (you).
    – player3236
    Oct 28, 2020 at 13:44
  • @ player3236 本座,本王,本大少爺 are certainly used by people in higher status than you
    – Tang Ho
    Oct 28, 2020 at 13:47
  • The word I was looking for is "humbling word", I guess
    – player3236
    Oct 28, 2020 at 13:48
  • Found the word: 謙稱. There is also 本月,本年,是日etc., where the translation is indeed "this".
    – player3236
    Oct 28, 2020 at 13:52
  • 在下,小人,小弟,愚兄,卑人 are 謙稱 (humble words); 本人 is a formal word and it is neutral. Example" (colloquial) "我不想再辯論下去了"; ( literary) "本人不欲再辯"
    – Tang Ho
    Oct 28, 2020 at 13:59


这个 is neutral to colloquial in register, whereas 本 is very formal and almost exclusively used in writing.

此 and 该 are two other formal options, both roughly equal in formality to 本.

Note that 本 is also a classifier for things like books, so you may see something like 这本书. This usage is completely separate from the formal usage.

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