As far as I know (I thought I knew), こ- is related to things that are close to the person who speaks, and そ- is related to the person who is spoken to. Is that right ?

However, in a exercise book, I had to answer this:

__犬はバカです。(close from the interlocutor)

I answered "その", but the book answer says "この", and I don't get why.

  • 1
    Why would you choose その when the exercise book clearly mentions "close from the interlocutor"?
    – Rathony
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 14:15
  • 1
    Because "そ- is related to the person who is spoken to" (i.e. the interlocutor) ?
    – Tiphaine
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 14:25

2 Answers 2


Your understanding of この and その is correct, I think the confusion comes from the wording of the question. As there only seems to be one person talking, you can assume that person is the interlocutor. So if the subject is close to the interlocutor (the person speaking), you would use この.

  • Interlocutor means "a person who takes part in a dialogue or conversation" so it can be either the speaker or the listener, hence it is completely ambiguous here. Better to think in terms of "speaker" and "listener" rather than "interlocutor".
    – jarmanso7
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 7:14

Let me give you an easier way of understanding.

この and その can be interpreted as 'this' and 'that' respectively.

この is used when the object is nearby the speaker and その when the object is far from the speaker but not to the point of a third person.

enter image description here

This picture is from the JLPT N5 text.

Hope this gives you an idea.

  • Thanks but, this does not reply to the question at all, I already stated the information you're providing in the original post.
    – Tiphaine
    Commented Jan 29, 2021 at 19:55

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