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 an 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.


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




Please check this.

In UK, Crime rate is increasing on a rampant pace.This/This issue can be resolved by countermeasures.

In the above sentence, please check the word ‘ This”. Is rightly used and which one makes the text more cohesive?


Hello Rox4090,

Both 'this' and 'this issue' are fine here. I think the second is probably better in terms of style and clarity.

This question is almost identical to one you posted below. Please post questions once only. Asking the same question multiple times does not make the answer come any quicker and in fact slows the process down. We read every question before it appears on the page and answer as quickly as we can but we are a small team here and sometimes it take a little while before we can respond, especially if a user posts many questions.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

In terms of cohesiveness, how do you rate it?

Is there any other ideas to improve on cohesiveness?
Also, how a person can check the cohesiveness in its written writing?


Hi.Please look at this sentence.

In 2015, a team of the national Urban livelihoods Mission had inspected these shelters, following which the muncipal corporation authorites claimed that they will be given a facelift, in addition to the provision of food.

In this Sentence, the pronoun “THEY”is referring to “ authorities or shelters.

As a rule, pronoun refers near noun only.

But in the sentence authorities is coming near and not the shelters. This is confusing me.

Please explain, so that I could improve on.

Hello Rox4090,

What I understand is that 'they' refers to 'these shelters'. Pronouns don't necessarily refer to nouns that are very close by. Usually we can infer what they refer to from the context and common sense. For example, in this case it would be odd for the authorities to get a facelift and be provisioned with food, whereas that would make perfect sense for the shelters.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Please see this sentence.

Physical exercise has many merits as health can be improved by it. Diabetes patients are most benefited by it because science has proofs. It also helps in controlling hypertension.

In the above sentence, the pronoun “it” is used.
Is the pronoun used correctly?

The word “it” in the last sentence refers to science or the physical exercise.
In the last sentence If the word “also” is not used, the meaning of the pronoun will be changed or not.
These are some of the very complicated issues faced.

Please explain.

Hi ,

In regard to use the demonstrative “this”, here a few sentences are written.

Crime rate is increasing due to the deteriorating law and order. This isssue could only be solved if countermeasures would be taken.

See usage of the word” this”. Is it adding cohesiveness in the sentence?

Is it used correctly?

Why we say near bath island not near the bath island? Tell me a website where these exceptions are descriptively mentioned.

Hello aseel aftab,

Bath Island is a proper name and we do not use articles with names. This is a consistent rule, so we use no article with other names: Japan, Madagascar, Trinidad and Tobago. However, we use the definite article with descriptive names which include the word 'of' (The United States of America, The Isle of Skye), or whose name is a plural (The West Indies, The Falkland Islands).

You can see the rules for article use on our articles pages - there are links on this page just under the task window.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Tiger,animal equal to lion in size,is native of Asia.
So can I say" Tiger,the animal equal to a lion in size,is native of Asia." Is this insertion of article correct in the latter sentence?