Determiners are Indicators Placed before Nouns

Determiners are not mentioned in parts of speech but are important.

  • They give information about a noun and noun phrase about their location, quantity, ownership.
  • They are placed before a noun or a noun phrase.
  • They let us know whether nouns are specific or general.

For example:

That car is mine. I have enough money. Their house is large. Rina visited the Taj Mahal.

In these sentences, the words- “that”, “enough”, “their” and “the”-  tell us more about nouns “car”, “money”, “house” and “ Taj Mahal.”

Determiners  are different from adjectives:

  • They are placed before a noun or a noun phrase.
  • A sentence cannot do without them.
  • An adjective, which is “describing word”, is optional, can be expressed in various degrees (as good, better and best) and need not be placed before a noun.


Types of Determiners:

  • Articles “the”, “an”, and “a” indicate whether noun is specific or general. “The” implies that the noun is specific whereas “a” and “an” are general and placed before a class of nouns.

Examples: You must visit the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. A carrot has carotene that is good for your eyes. She is hoping to become an astronaut.

  • Quantifiers are general and show quantity. They may be placed in front of uncountable nouns.

Examples: Rita has many friends. He has little time. She has enough knowledge about this town.

  • Demonstratives are specific and show the location of the noun with respect to the person who is speaking.

Examples: That bed is too small. Those trees are very old. This book is good.

Types of Determiners
  • Interrogatives are questions which are specific.

Examples: Which road will you take? Whose coat are you wearing? What answer did Anita give? Whose dog bit my son?

  • Possessives are specific words that indicate ownership.

Examples: My book is torn. His mother is out of town. Their house is large and airy.

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