Determiners and quantifiers

 

General and specific determiners

Determiners are words which come at the beginning of the noun phrase.

They tell us whether the noun phrase is specific or general.

Determiners are either specific or general

Specific determiners:

The specific determiners are:

  • the definite article: the
  • possessives: my, your, his, her, its; our, their, whose
  • demonstratives: this, that, these, those
  • interrogatives: which

We use a specific determiner when we believe the listener/reader knows exactly what we are referring to:

Can you pass me the salt please?
Look at those lovely flowers.
Thank you very much for your letter.
Whose coat is this?

General determiners:

The general determiners are:

  • a; an; any; another; other; what

When we are talking about things in general and the listener/reader does not know exactly what we are referring to, we can use a uncount noun or a plural noun with no determiner:

Milk is very good for you. (= uncount noun)
Health and education are very important. (= 2 uncount nouns)
Girls normally do better in school than boys. (= plural nouns with no determiner)

… or you can use a singular noun with the indefinite article a or an:

A woman was lifted to safety by a helicopter.
A man climbing nearby saw the accident.

We use the general determiner any with a singular noun or an uncount noun when we are talking about all of those people or things:

It’s very easy. Any child can do it. (= All children can do it)
With a full licence you are allowed to drive any car.
I like beef, lamb, pork - any meat.

We use the general determiner another to talk about an additional person or thing:

Would you like another glass of wine?

The plural form of another is other:

I spoke to John, Helen and a few other friends.

Quantifiers

We use quantifiers when we want to give someone information about the number of something: how much or how many.

Exercise

Comments

Kindly work out my below issue : On a number of websites I have read that there are Six classifications of Determiners i.e : 1)Articles 2)Numbers 3)Quantifiers 4)Demonstrative adjectives 5)Possessive adjectives 6)Possessive nouns Now my question is that If NUMBERS come under QUANTIFIERS, Why have NUMBERS been written separately ????????? And ---- Distributive adjectives AND Interrogative adjectives are also DETERMINERS then why they haven't been taken in the classifications. If I say : NUMBERS have been taken separately BUT it comes under QUANTIFIERS. I mean NUMBER is the part of Quantifiers. Okay! Let's suppose Both are Quantifiers........ If someone i.e a beginner of ENGLISH reads, how he will understand either NUMBERS are also the part of Quantifiers I mean there is no any note that NUMBER is also QUANTIFIERS ! But NUMBER is a specific DETERMINERS so it has been take separately. He will be totally confused like me. If he reads the following: 1) Number 2)Quantifiers Then he will think that Both are different things.

Hello Ritesh,

I'm afraid I can't comment on how other websites classify language. It's certainly not wise to try to combine different descriptions of English.

Best wishes,

Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

Kindly look at the following statements :

If I say : NUMBERS have been taken separately BUT it comes under QUANTIFIERS. I mean NUMBER is the part of Quantifiers.
Okay! Let's suppose "Both are Quantifiers........

BUT if someone i.e a beginner of ENGLISH reads, how he will understand either NUMBERS are also the part of Quantifiers I mean there is no any note that NUMBER is also QUANTIFIERS ! but NUMBER is a specific DETERMINERS so it has been taken separately.He will be totally confused like me if he reads in the following ways :
1) Numbers
2)Quantifiers

Then he would think that Both are different things.

Hello Ritesh,

I'm not quite clear what you are asking about.

Are you asking about the way that language is described on LearnEnglish or are you asking about the best way to classify numbers? Or something else?

Best wishes,

Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

As I know that NUMBERS i.e (one,two,three etc) are also Quantifiers. If it is so, why the NUMBERS have been classified/taken separetly Under your Determiners classifications?

Hello Ritesh,

Are you talking about something on this page or another page? Which specific sentence or sentences on the site are you asking about? I don't see a description like the one you are describing.

Best wishes,

Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello!
Is it correct to use:
I stay home all time of year. and I stay home all time of the year. ?
If not, what is the correct variant and why?
Thank you!

Hello razvan-alexandru,

'all time of year' and 'all time of the year' are not used in English, and I'm not sure exactly what you want to say. Do you mean that you stay home all twelve months of the year, i.e. that you never leave home? If that's what you want to say, you can say 'all year'.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,

One website says possessive adj is taken either from pronoun (my, your, etc) or noun (John's, Mary's, etc). What do you think about this?

If you agree with that, in which group, pronoun or noun, should 'whose' be put?

I think I agree with what that website says but I'm not sure where 'whose' belongs to (pronoun or noun).

Hello echoatas4,

Different linguists use different names for these items - some call them possessive adjectives, some call them possessive determiners, some call them possessive pronouns. The arguments are very intricate and really not part of our sphere here on LearnEnglish; we choose the simplest and most accessible description for our users as our goal is to help learners in as practical a way as possible. Therefore on this site we use the term 'possessive adjectives', and you can find information and an exercise on this page.

If you're interested in the various alternative names and categories for these items, including 'whose' then a useful starting point is the relevant wikipedia page, which you can find here.  You'll notice that the description of 'whose' there is as a 'pronominal possessive determiner', which gives you an idea of how complex linguistic terminology becomes! However, identifying the exact name is not in any way needed for correct use of these items, which is what we focus on here on LearnEnglish.

I hope that answers your question.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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