When referring to the subject of a sentence, like how in English there are words such as “this” or “that” there are Japanese equivalents of those words.
これ translates to the word “this,” used to refer to a subject near the speaker.
|これは私の日本語の教科書です。||これは わたし の にほんご の きょうかしょ です||This is my Japanese textbook.|
それ translates into the word “that,” used to refer to a subject closer to the listener, and farther from the speaker.
|それは雑誌ですか？||それは ざっし ですか？||Is that a magazine?|
あれ translates to the phrase “that over there,” used to refer to something most likely distant from both the speaker and the listener.
|あれは動物園です。||あれは どうぶつえん です。||That over there is a zoo.|
れ translates into the word “which.”
|どれですか？||どれですか？||Which is it?|
Important: A key thing to remember is that これ, それ, あれ, and どれ are terms that can stand alone in their meaning but cannot show possession.
|ぞれ？||ぞれ？||That one? (Casual)|
Conversely, この, その, あの, and どの are phrases that cannot stand alone, but show possession to something.
|このDVDです。||このDVDです。||It’s this DVD.|
|どのレストランですか？。||どのレストランですか？||Whichi restaurant is it?|