28 Apr 2020

Determiners in English Grammar : Types, Examples, Exercise

English Grammar >> Determiners

Determiner - Determiner is a word placed in front of a noun to make it clear what the noun refers to. In other words, a ‘determiner’ is a word which limits or fixes the meaning of a noun. It is also called determinative. Popular determiners in English are : a/an, the, this, that, my, all, any, some, many, few, little, much, either, a lot of, several, each, every, both etc.
image : English Grammar - Determiners @ TeachMatters
An important role in English Grammar is played by determiners. So, this post may help you to improve your knowledge about determiners in English - What are determiners? What words are determiners in English? What are 4/5/6 types of determiners? What are determiners examples?

Determiners : Definition, Types, Examples & Rules with Exercises

Definition : A determiner, also called determinative, is a word, phrase, or affix that occurs together with a noun or noun phrase and serves to express the reference of that noun or noun phrase in the context. Wikipedia

Examples :
1. The boy is a student.
2. Where is my pen?
3. Some folks get all the luck.
4. Whose book is that?
5. Both boys played well.

In the above sentences, all bold words are determiners.

Types of Determiners :

There are five types of Determiners :

1. Articles – A, an, the
2. Demonstratives – this, that, these, those, etc.
3. Possessives – my, our, your, his, her, their, its, etc.
4. Numerals – one, two, first, second, each, any, etc.
5. Quantitatives – all, any, much, little, etc.

Types of Deteminers
my, our, your, his, her, their, its, whose, everybody’s, anybody’s
One, two, etc., first, second, etc., several, many, a few, each, either, both, some, all
All, enough, little, a little, much, any, some, no

1. Articles

Articles are words that define a noun as specific or unspecific.

There are two types of articles :

(a) Indefinite articles – a, an
(b) Definite article – the

The Indefinite Article (A, An) – The indefinite article indicates that a noun refers to a general idea rather than a particular thing. It is used only with singular noun which is countable.

The indefinite article ‘a’ is used when it precedes a word that begins with a consonant sound; as,

A book, a rat, a table, a man, a European.

The indefinite article ‘an’ is used when it precedes a word that begins with a vowel sound; as,

An apple, an autobiography, an honest man.

The Definite Article (The) – The word ‘the’ is called the definite article. The definite article indicates that a noun refers to a particular thing. It can be used with singular, plural or uncountable nouns.

Use of Articles

(a) Indefinite articles (a, an) are used to indicate a singular countable noun which refers to a general idea; as,
There is a book on the table.

(b) Definite article (the) is used to indicate a particular thing (singular, plural, countable or uncountable noun); as,

The book that is on the table is mine.

>> Know more about Articles >>

2. Demonstrative

Demonstrative is a determiner or a pronoun that points to a particular noun or to the noun it replaces.

There are four demonstratives in English :

(a) The “Near” Demonstratives – this, these
(b) The “Far” Demonstratives - that, those

This and that are singular; these and those are plural.

Near Demonstrative
Far Demonstrative

Examples :

This is a good book.

These books are very useful.

That was the best day of my life.

Those children are hungry.

3. Possessives

Possessive determiners are personal pronouns in their possessive use.

(my, your, our, his, her, their, its, whose, anybody’s, everybody’s etc.)

(a) They are used before nouns to show idea of possession; as,

This is my book.

They don’t like their house.

I met her teacher at the school.

4. Numerals

Numerals are words relating to number. Numerals are determiners when they appear before a noun. They tell us how many; as,

One, many, first, few, every, each, any etc.

There are three types of numerals :

(a) Definite Numerals : They refer to a definite or exact number. They are two :

(i) Cardinals : One, two, three,…etc. They are used before countable nouns; as,

I gave him ten rupees.

(ii) Ordinals : First, second, third,…etc. They are used to indicate order or sequence; as,

The first book is very boring.

(b) Indefinite Numerals : They refer to indefinite numbers; as,

Many, a few, several, any, all etc.

Several people witnessed the accident.

(c) Distributive Numerals : These words refer to each of a group; as,

Each, every, either, neither, etc.

Every student must work hard.

Either Pawan or Amar has won the prize.

5. Quantifiers

Quantifiers are words that precede and modify nouns. They tell us how many or how much; as,

Some, any, little, few, much, many, no, etc.

(a) some is used in affirmative sentences; as,

There are some books on the table.

There is some milk in the glass.

(b) any is used in negative sentences; as,

There are not any books on the table.

There is not any milk in the glass.

(c) any is used in interrogative sentence for negative reply; as,

Is there any milk in the glass?

(d) some is used in interrogative sentence for positive reply; as,

Don’t you have some money?

Would you like some tea?

(e) any is used in such phrases as mean ‘no matter which’; as,

You can come any day you like.

Few, a few, the few, little, a little, the little : Difference with examples
With Countable nouns
With Uncountable nouns
Negative sense
few (not many, hardly any)
little (not much, hardly anything)
Positive sense
a few (some)
a little (some, though not much)
Negative sense
the few (not many, but all of those)
the little (not much, something definite)

Examples :

He makes few mistakes. (not many mistakes)

He made a few mistakes in the essay. (some mistakes)

The few mistakes which he made were minor. (not many, but all of those mistakes)

I have little money. (not much money)

But Mohan has a little money in his pocket. (some money)

The little money which I had was spent on food. (not much, but the small amount I had)

>> Determiners Exercise Questions >>

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