Some words do not change when they become plural. “Information” is one of these; however, is it then appropriate to use the phrase “these information” when “information” is plural? How does one determine whether this phrase is correct?
“These information” is not a grammatically correct phrase because “information” does not change when it becomes plural, therefore the plural “these” does not agree with the grammatically singular “information.” Instead, one should say, “this information,” as both agree in plurality.
To explain why “these information” is incorrect, this article will delve into count and noncount nouns, demonstrative pronouns, and demonstrative adjectives. Then we will list what you may use in place of “these information” in specific contexts.
What Does “These Information” Mean?
Before one can grasp why “these information” does not function correctly, one must first understand what is meant by “these information.” Most often, one really means to state “that information” or “those pieces of information.”
“Information” derives from the Latin informare, which is a verb that means “to inform” (source). Therefore, we use the English “information,” which functions as a noun or adjective, as the result of being informed. Thus, if one is being informed, they are receiving information.
However, though “information” is a noun, it is abstract. One cannot say they received a cup of information, just as one cannot measure the amount of knowledge they have obtained.
Therefore, information needs parameters to limit the amount of information being addressed. One could say:
- Hand me that information.
This sentence acknowledges that one can hand over the information being discussed. Likely the speaker is referencing a book or perhaps a USB or DVD containing a training piece. Similarly, one could use “information” as an adjective for a noun. For example:
- What does the information page say?
Here, the speaker is talking about a page that contains information. Because the emphasis is on the page and not the information, one can respond by sharing the page’s information and understand that the requested information is limited to only that.
These abstract “information” uses make it more concrete, resulting in more precise writing.
How Do You Use “These Information”?
“These information” uses the pronoun “these” and the noncount noun “information.” “These” is also demonstrative, meaning we use it to distinguish the sentence’s noun. The issue with “these information” is that “these” is the incorrect demonstrative to use with a noncount noun.
When specifying a noncount noun, the correct demonstrative is “this.” However, since noncount nouns are ambiguous in their amount or plurality, they remain singular. Therefore, use a singular demonstrative when referencing a noncount noun.
So, the singular “this information” is correct, while the plural “these information” is incorrect.
- Incorrect: Can I get more of these information?
- Correct: Can I get more of this information?
When Can You Use “These Information”?
“These information” will always be grammatically incorrect. Therefore, there is never a circumstance in which one should use the phrase. However, there are certain circumstances in which one can use similar terms, which you should differentiate.
Note that not all noncount nouns, such as “information,” remain singular in every circumstance. For example, while “information” always remains singular grammatically, some noncount words, such as “advice,” can take on their plural counterpart in specific contexts. For example, one may use “advices” within the parameters of a legal document.
As a result, the demonstrative can shift when the noun becomes plural, resulting in “these advices.” Find more on this particular topic in the article: “Advice or Advices: Can Advice Be Plural?”
Information cannot function this way because we usually turn “information” into an adjective when talking about multiple portions of information, even in legal settings. For instance, one could use “pieces of information” to convey more than one source or transfer of information. However, in this case, “pieces” is the pluralized noun, not “information.”
In What Context Can You Use “These Information”?
While “these information” is grammatically incorrect in any context, there are options you can use in its place. Phrases such as “this information” and “these pieces of information,” as well as others, can serve as helpful substitutes in specific contexts.
“This information” is a helpful alternative because “information” functions as a noncount noun following a demonstrative adjective. Since there is no grammatical change in the substitute, you should use “this information” where the writer may try to use “these information.”
- Incorrect: These information helped me with my research paper.
- Correct: This information helped me with my research paper.
When using “this information,” a lot of determining correct usage is the surrounding context. One could be referencing information they are gathering for a research paper on a historic home. They may have multiple books, documents, and websites on the topic.
While there is a lot of information gathered, “information” continues to remain singular. In short, use “this” to refer to noncount nouns similar in space and time.
- Thanks for your help in gathering all of this information concerning the historical site.
Using “These Information” in a Full Sentence
While one cannot correctly use “these information” in a sentence, this does not mean that one cannot use the term “information” in various ways to communicate the same message. To see this, several examples can provide some much-needed clarity.
When comparing nouns of the same place and time, use the demonstrative “this.” For example, if one wanted to refer to the information written down in their notes from a class, they could say:
- Did you write this information in your notebook?
There is likely more than one piece of information provided by the class. Yet, there is no way to measure this information concretely, so “information” remains singular as a noncount noun.
Alongside this, the information referred to is likely information given at the same time and place. The writer is not asking if all information one could possibly receive is in the notebook, but instead whether the information is from a class or copied from another piece of material. This meaning is inferred by the demonstrative “this.”
“Information” can also function as an adjective instead of a noun if one desires to forgo using a demonstrative. This is achieved either by keeping the term “information” and adding a countable noun such as “piece” or “pieces” or by using the adjective “informational.” For instance:
- I think that the information pieces regarding our procedures are flawed.
- These informational pamphlets are expensive to print.
Both instances added context that makes “information” countable. For the first sentence, “pieces” indicates that the subject is plural, while the second sentence uses “pamphlets.”
When Not to Use “These Information”
One can use “information” within parameters that allow for correct grammar other than “these information.” However, there are certain instances where one should not use “information” to avoid grammatical errors.
As an important note, because “information” is not countable, one should never use “a” or “an” in conjunction with “information” if it is used on its own, as this would mean “information” is a countable singular noun (source).
- Incorrect: I heard an information about birds in the speech.
Instead, one would need to accompany “information” with a noun to indicate its singularity, such as:
- Correct: I heard a bit of information about birds in the speech.
In short, when using “information” in a sentence, one can only reference the amount with “information” if using a measurable noun with “information” as an adjective. Otherwise, the noun will remain innumerable, and therefore, it cannot have numeric indicators attached to it.
What Can You Use Instead of “These Information”?
If one would prefer to steer away from “these information” altogether to avoid grammatical errors, there is a plethora of less complicated synonyms he or she can use.
Several synonyms for “information” also serve as noncount nouns and follow the same rules as “information.” Some examples of these are “intelligence,” “news,” or “data” (source). Therefore, one must simply add a countable noun and make these synonyms adjectives or use “this” instead of “these.”
- These intelligence reports are alarming!
- This data does not match what we observed in the lab today.
- News reports say that the criminal is still out there.
However, if one wants to avoid these rules, one could use a synonym like “fact.” This is not a noncount noun; one can easily use it as a regular noun without adding rules, including using it with “these.”
- These facts are not debatable.
Demonstrative Pronouns and Adjectives
In short, a demonstrative adjective sets a particular subject noun apart from others like it. It does so by demonstrating towards it using near and far demonstratives with “this,” “these,” “those,” and “that.” A demonstrative pronoun uses those exact four words but replaces the noun. Demonstrative pronouns simply point to a noun in context.
For the purpose of the current topic of this article, it is essential to note that the plurality of the demonstrative pronoun or adjective must match that of the noun it is distinguishing. So, one could not say, “Those apple seem ripe,” but he or she could say, “Those apples seem ripe.”
This is because “those” is a plural demonstrative, and “apple” is singular. When dealing with noncount nouns, the concurrent demonstrative should only ever be singular because noncount nouns are grammatically singular. Thus, when speaking of “information,” one can only use “this” or “that” as singular demonstrative pronouns (purple) or adjectives (dark blue).
- This is important.
- This information is important.
Near and Far Demonstratives
Another purpose of using demonstrative pronouns and adjectives is to distinguish between near and far objects. The subject you describe does not necessarily have to be near or far (although they serve this purpose as well), but rather that the object is one “in the possession of the speaker.”
When it comes to “information,” one can use demonstratives to describe the literal nearness of the object. For example:
- Those books of information were helpful.
- Those were helpful.
This is likely referencing books that are on a table or held by someone who is not the speaker. The books are some distance away. Whether to use a demonstrative adjective or pronoun is up to how clear the referent “books of information” is in context.
However, one can speak about “information” using near demonstratives to indicate knowledge one has or already knows while using far demonstratives to recognize information that came from a source that was not the speaker. For example:
- I memorized this information by using flashcards.
- That information was confusing.
While in both cases, there was no physical “information,” one can still use near and far demonstrative pronouns and adjectives to distinguish between information foreign to the speaker and information the speaker already knows about.
Count vs. Noncount Nouns
Alongside demonstrative pronouns and adjectives, it is beneficial to address count and noncount nouns briefly. In short, count nouns are nouns you can number, while noncount nouns are subjects you cannot number (at least not easily).
An excellent example of this is the difference between ideas and knowledge. Someone may say they have four good ideas for a school project, and it would be reasonable to say so. This makes “ideas” a count noun.
However, one cannot say they have “four knowledges” and expect others to understand what this means. Therefore, “knowledge” is a noncount noun and does not have a plural form. Because there is no plural form, one cannot use plural demonstrative pronouns in place of noncount nouns, nor can one pair “knowledge” with a plural demonstrative adjective. This article was written for strategiesforparents.com
This is not to say that one can never refer to “information” in a plural sense. The trick is to not make the word a noncount noun by making the noun an adjective. One can reasonably count pages of information, so the noun phrase is now countable.
By adding a countable measure word, one can now use the noncount noun in conjunction with other parts of speech that must match the noun in plurality.
“Information,” though at times a problematic noun to understand, has clearly set rules that help the writer flourish. While you should never use grammatically incorrect “these information,” there are a plethora of synonymous words and phrases you may use to enrich and vary your word choices.