これ vs. この confusion

When asking ‘whose bag is this?’ why would you use これ instead of この since これ stands for ‘this thing’ while これ references a specific item, in this case a bag?

Sorry if the wording of this question is confusing, I’m not quite sure how to phrase it!

この always precedes a noun and specifies a precise object - essentially an abbreviation for これの. これ stands on its own, and the object being specified is only apparent through context.

In English, we’d sometimes just use “this” on its own too. “Whose is this bag?” versus “Whose is this?”

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You should always try to write a sentence in Japanese and explain what you want to say with it. Then we’ll be able to address your question more specifically.

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Ah my bad! The sentence given was これは 誰の かばんですか?

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Ah, that’s a perfectly fine sentence.
If you want to use この you could say:
このカバンは誰のだすか。

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perhaps an overly simple guide, but it works for me:

この is followed directly by the object
これ is followed by a particle

this also applies to その/それ and あの/あれ

easy for French speakers:

これ: ceci
この: ce(t), cette, ces

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