Determiners – Complete Explanation

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Well, in this occasion, I will give explanation about Determiners.
Do you ever hear about this material before? If you are not, please pay attention my explanation about this material and read this material carefully. Oke, check this out.

Determiners & Quantifiers


Determiners modify nouns by setting a limitation over the nouns to indicate how specific or general they are. A determiner usually appears at the beginning of the noun phrases and works as an adjective to modify the nouns. However, determiners are not necessary for every noun phrase.

Determiners include:

a. The definite article: the


  • Give me the book I read to you yesterday. (Specific book)
  • I want the pencil you borrowed yesterday.

b. The indefinite articles: a, an


  • Give me a book from the shelf. (A general/random book from a specific shelf)
  • I want an apple.

c. The possessives: myyourhisher, ourtheir,  its whose


  • My car is parked outside. (Specific car)
  • His house is near the bridge.

d. The demonstratives: thisthatthesethose


  • This is my book.
  • That house belongs to me.
  • Those ducks are beautiful.

e. Interrogatives: which, what


  • Which car do you want to buy?
  • What product do you use?


Quantifiers are also determiners which modify a noun to indicate its quantity. The quantifiers are any, all, many, much, most, some, a few, and a lot of, a little, a large amount of, none, and the cardinal numbers [one, two, three, four], etc.


  • I have some books to read.
  • Many students learn English grammar.

Note: There are some rules for using determiners and quantifiers. Some of them can be used only with countable nouns and some of them with uncountable nouns while others can be used with either of them. Here is a chart for the determiners to be used with countable or uncountable nouns.

With Countable Nouns With Uncountable Nouns
a/an, the
this, that, these, those
none, one, two, three,. . . . . .
a (great/large) number of
a few
fewer . . . . than
a lot of
this, that
much (in negatives or questions)
a large amount of
a little
less . . . . than
a lot of

What are determiners?

A determiner is used to modify a noun. It indicates reference to something specific or something of a particular type. This function is usually performed by articles, demonstratives, possessive determiners, or quantifiers.

Determiners vs pronouns

Determiners are followed by a noun.

  • The cat
  • This computer
  • Some teachers

Subject pronouns ( I , you , he , etc.) and possessive pronouns (mine, yours, his, etc.) cannot be determiners because they can never be followed by a noun.

Types of determiners


The definite and indefinite articles are all determiners.

  • Definite article – the
  • Indefinite article – a or an (a is used before a consonant sound; an is used before a vowel sound.)


Close the window, please.
I’ve got a girlfriend in London.


There are four demonstrative determiners in English and they are: this, that, these and those

Note that demonstrative determiners can also be used as demonstrative pronouns. When they are used as determiners they are followed by the nouns they modify. Compare:

This is my camera. (Demonstrative used as a pronoun, subject of the verb is)
This camera is mine. (Demonstrative used as a determiner modifying the noun camera.)


Possessive adjectives – my, your, his, her, its, our, your, their – modify the noun following it in order to show possession.

Possessive determiners are different from possessive pronouns – mine, his, hers, yours, ours, their.

  • Possessive pronouns can stand alone and are not followed by nouns.
  • Possessive determiners, on the other hand, are followed by nouns.


This is my house. (my is a possessive determiner. It is followed by the noun house which it modifies)
Is that car yours? (yours is a possessive pronoun. It is not followed by a noun.)


Quantifiers are followed by nouns which they modify. Examples of quantifiers include:

some, any, few, little, more, much, many, each, every, both, all, enough, half, little, whole, less etc.

Quantifiers are commonly used before either countable or uncountable nouns.

He knows more people than his wife.
Little knowledge is a dangerous thing .

I think my explanation about the point above is enough. If you have a question about the grammar rule I have just explained just now, you can write a comment in the comment form below. I will feel happy to answer your question or may be if you have suggestion or correction about it, you can also write a comment.

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