Determiner - English Grammar Concepts with Examples

What is Determiner?

A determiner is a word that goes before a noun and identifies the noun in further detail.

Types of determiners:

  1. Article (a/an, the)
  2. Demonstrative (this, that, these, those)
  3. Possessive (my, your, his, her, its, our, their)
  4. Pre-Determiner (three time, three-fourth, half)
  5. Quantifier (many, much, more, most, some)
  6. Cardinals or Numerals (two, three, 5, 7)
  7. Ordinals (first, second, third)
  8. Distributives (Each, Every)
  9. Interrogatives (Why, What, Where)

1. Articles

Articles are words used with a noun (as a standalone word or a prefix or suffix) to specify the grammatical definiteness of a noun, and, in some languages, to volume or numerical scope. There are three articles 'a', 'an' and .the.

For example:

  • The lion is roaring very angrily.
  • My friend want to become an ideal student.
  • I saw an accident of a car.

No Article before some nouns:

Writers sometimes struggle with the choice to include an article or to leave it out altogether. Keep in mind that if the noun is singular, countable, and nonspecific or generic (e.g., book, author), the articles "a" and "an" may be used. However, if the noun is countable and plural (e.g., "research studies") or uncountable (e.g., "information") and it is being used in a nonspecific or generic way, no article is used.

No article is used when a plural countable noun is generic or nonspecific.

  • I bought new pens and pencils at the store. (general, not specific ones)
  • Cats have big eyes that can see in the dark. (cats in general, all of them)
  • Babies cry a lot. (babies in general, all of them)

A singular noun that we use for a person from the country or region:

  • Peter and John live in London.
  • Aunt Mary lives in Los Angeles.
  • We are learning English.
  • Names of streets, cities, towns or states.
  • Names of lakes and bays, mountains, continents, islands, languages, sports, academic subjects.

2. Demonstratives

Demonstrative determiners are used as pointers of a particular noun in order to indicate the position or location of a noun in the sentence. Some of the demonstrative determiners are like here, there, this, that, these, etc.

For example:

  • This is a cat.
  • That is a doll.

3. Possessive

Possessive words such as 'ours: 'yours, "mine, "theirs, "hers,' and 'his' can be used as determiners. A possessive determiner provides context in a sentence because it informs the reader what belongs to the subject.

For Example:

  • Her car is over there.
  • Is your coffee on the counter?
  • This is mine.
  • My mom is very simple and kind.

4. Pre-determiners

The pre-determiners s occur prior to other determiners (as you would probably guess from their name). This class of words includes multipliers (double, twice, four/five times) fractional expressions (one-third, three-quarters, etc.); the words both, half, and all; and intensifiers such as quite, rather, and such.

The multipliers precede plural count and mass nouns and occur with singular count nouns denoting number or amount:

  • This van holds three times the passengers as that sports car.
  • My wife is making double my/twice my salary.
  • This time we added five times the amount of water.

In fractional expressions, we have a similar construction, but here it can be replaced with "of" construction.

For example:

  • Charlie finished in one-fourth [of] the time his brother took.
  • Two-fifths of the respondents reported that half the medication was sufficient

5. Quantifiers

Quantifiers are used in the sentence in order to express the quantity such as many, few, enough, little, much, most, any, some, any, etc.

For example:

  • He bought many chocolates.
  • Only a few children want to go on the tour.

6. Cardinals or Numerals

Cardinal numbers are used in all forms of counting that involve a total.( one, two, three, etc)

For example:

  • We have two dogs.
  • There are 12 birds.
  • He is six years old today.

7. Ordinals

Ordinal numbers are used to talk about where something is placed in an ordered sequence.(first, second, next, etc.)

For example:

  • The first horse in was disqualified.
  • He's celebrating his fifty-first birthday in August.

8. Distributives

Distributive determiners refer to a group of people or things, and to individual members of the group. (each, every, either, neither).

For Example:

  • Each child was laughing.
  • Every child was laughing.
  • Either of men was dancing.
  • Neither of the cows gives milk.

9. Interrogatives

Use the words what, which and whose before nouns to ask about people or things. These words are called interrogative determiners or interrogative adjectives.( which, what, whose)

For Example:

  • What you want to do?
  • Which school should I join?
  • Whose clothe you have worn?

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