I was recently learning about the group of これ, それ, and あれ in Japanese but I find myself a bit perplexed by これら.
In this Japanese Ammo with Misa video - she talks about the fact that これ could mean “this” or “these”. For instance, if I was going to say “these are shoes” - I would say これは靴です.
Yet, as I’ve been stumbling around online, I’ve found that there are a few places that suggest one should use これら for plurality. So if I wanted to say “these are books” - they would suggest I’d say これらは本です instead of これは本です. Other places seem to indicate that this is not common or perhaps only used in formal papers. Imambi seemed to suggest これら is used for situations in which you want to emphasize each thing or in written language.
I’m not really sure who to trust on this (or if there even is a definitive answer). Is it true that you should use これら when writing or when you want to emphasize each thing and これ otherwise?
I’m not certain, but I think this sounds reasonable. I think what you’re really emphasising is plurality. My experience, however, is this: the one context in which you generally do want to use これら and similar words is when you’re referring to multiple objects and you want to be clear that there’s more than one present. Then you might say something like 「これらの本」= ‘these books’. That aside, I think it’s fairly rare.
Just my opinion, though I don’t have any particular examples in mind at the moment: the expression is fairly formal/literary-sounding, so you probably need to watch an anime in which someone speaks formally most of the time. I’d look out for characters like Yukinoshita Yukino from Oregairu. I think she’s the sort of person who’d use これら in a conversation. Someone who’s meant to come across as very well groomed and educated, and possibly quite haughty. That’s just my general impression as far as its likely use in anime goes. In real life, I have no idea how common it is. Like I said, I would use it as a way of saying ‘these’ or ‘those’ as determiners, but I don’t see much of a use for it otherwise. Also, of course… I’m not sure if I’d sound strange to a Japanese person if I used that in a casual conversation.