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I've noticed that when we refer to people on the TV, radio or phone that we tend to use that rather than this.

Examples

Pointing to the TV screen you ask: What is the name of that guy wearing the funny hat?

While listening to the radio you say: I like that host very much.

After talking on the phone, your wife asks you: Who was that on the phone?

Sometimes this just sounds unnatural, but I would like to know if there is a linguistic/grammatical reason why that is prefered in these situations. Thank you.

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CarewSometimes this just sounds unnatural, but I would like to know if there is a linguistic/grammatical reason why that is preferred in these situations.

I'd chalk it up to tradition. In fact 'that' is the one that is 'not here' but 'there', so it makes some sense, even if not complete sense. The people or things in question are not 'here', but 'there', on the TV, on the radio, on the phone.

CJ

Comments  

Thank you. That makes sense.