In jQuery event.target always refers to the element that triggered the event, where event is the parameter passed to the function. http://api.jquery.com/category/events/event-object/

$(document).ready(function() {
    $("a").click(function(event) {
        alert(event.target.id);
    });
});

Note also that this will also work, but that it is not a jQuery object, so if you wish to use a jQuery function on it then you must refer to it as $(this), e.g.:

$(document).ready(function() {
    $("a").click(function(event) {
        // this.append wouldn't work
        $(this).append(" Clicked");
    });
});