Determiners

Table of Contents

Determiners are several classes of words which in older grammar books were called adjectives.  The most common determiners are:

  • Articles: a, an, the
  • Demonstratives: this, that, these & those
  • Possessives: my, our, your, his, her, its & their
  • Numerals: one, two, three,.......& first, second, third, ............
  • Quantifiers: some, any, no, much, many, more, most, little, less, least, few, enough, several, all, both, half, each, every, either, neither

Determiners & Adjectives

There are four major classes of adjectives: adjectives of quality, adjectives of quantity, adjectives of number and pronominal adjectives. Now-a-days adjectives of quantity, adjectives of number and pronominal adjectives are called determiners.

Types of Determiners

The classification of determiners is not much necessary to learn. Yet, if you are curious to know, we will see how determiners are classified.

Group A and Group B Determiners

Based on how they are used in a noun phrase, determiners are divided into two groups: Group A determiners and Group B determiners. 

Group A Determiners

Group A determiners are:

  • Articles: a, an, the
  • Demonstratives: this, that, these & those
  • Possessives: my, our, your, his, her, its & their

We cannot use two group A determiners together. We say:

  • This car is red.
  • It is my car.

But we cannot say:

  • My this car is red.

Group B Determiners

Group A determiners are:

  • Numerals: one, two, three,.......& first, second, third, ............
  • Quantifiers: some, any, no, much, many, more, most, little, less, least, few, enough, several, all, both, half, each, every, either, neither

    We can use two group B determiners together if the combination makes sense. 

    • Do you want any more food? 
    • He comes every six months. 

    Definite and Indefinite Determiners

    Determiners can be further divided into definite and indefinite

    Definite Determiners

    Definite determiners make the noun phrase definite or specific. They are:

    • Definite Articles: the
    • Demonstratives: this, that, these & those
    • Possessives: my, our, your, his, her, its & their

    Indefinite Determiners

      Indefinite determiners do not make the noun phrase definite or specific. They are:

      • Indefinite Articles: a, an
      • Numerals: one, two, three,.......& first, second, third, ............
      • Quantifiers: some, any, no, much, many, more, most, little, less, least, few, enough, several, all, both, half, each, every, either, neither

      Singular and Plural

      Some determiners are used with singular nouns and uncountable nouns, some are with plural nouns. Some can be used with both singular and plural, countable and uncountable nouns. 

      • My student is smart. 
      • My students are smart. 
      • I have a cat. 
      • I have three cats.

      Rules of Using Determiners

      (i) Determiners appear at the beginning of a noun phrase. If the noun phrase has one or more adjectives, they go after the determiner. 

      • My book
      • My new book
      • My new note book

      (ii) Group B determiners are used before nouns without of:

      • Some people are never happy. 
      • You can take any food you like.

      But if we want to use a group B determiner before a noun that has a group A determiner, we use of between them.

      • Some of the people were unhappy. 
      • You can keep any of our food.

      To be contunued------------------

      We cannot use two definite determiners together. 

      Possessive Nouns

      Possessive nouns function as determiners. 

      • This is Milton's poem. 
      • I like Shakespear's plays. 

      Examples of Determiners

      • The cat is black. 
      • Here is my pen.
      • Our school is not far. 
      • This bag is empty. 
      • Those books are yours. 
      • Two birds live in nest. 
      • There are many cows in the field. 
      • Some people are never happy. 
      • Few boys were industrious.