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.




Hello Rox4090,

Both are grammatically correct but the first one is unusual. This is because it has a passive verb, which implies that someone is controlling unemployment. The second, in which 'increase' is an intransitive verb, means that unemployment rates may change as a consequence of changes in population. The second also of course uses the modal verb 'could' to express possibility.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

So the first one can be written this way.

Given the population explosion, unemployment has increased.

Is it correct?
What it means?


Hi again Rox4090,

Yes, that is grammatically correct. The use of 'given' is a little odd here as it is generally not used to mean 'as a result of' (which is how you appear to be using it) but rather as a way to setting a condition for your conclusion. It has a meaning something like 'If we (I/you) accept...' It's often a way of conceding a point in a discussion: Given what you have said, I can only conclude...


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


Given the population is increasing day by day, the government cannot create job opportunities for everyone.

Is this sentence correct?
Is it make sense ?or
If it sounds odd then How can remove oddness ?


Hi Rox4090,

Yes, that sentence is fine with good use of 'given'.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Given parents are often already overburdened with family life, it can become increasingly difficult to manage meltdowns in a constructive and healthy manner.

Verbs “are and can”. Why?

Normally, in Sentences started with “ Given”
We use could or might.

Could you please clarify.


Hello Rox4090,

Here 'given' means something like 'considering' or 'taking into account the fact that'. I'm not familiar with the rule that sentences beginning with 'given' use the verb 'could' or 'might', so I'm afraid I can't comment on that other than to say that the sentence is correct and sounds perfectly natural to me.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


Sentence: A motorcyclist was injured on Sunday after he drove into a plastic kite string in New Jersey, injuring his fingers and ears.

Phrase: injuring his fingers and ears.

What is this type of phrase called?
How can we write such type of phrases?

Please teach us .


Hi Rox4090,

This is an example of a participle phrase (sometimes also called a participle clause). We have a page devoted to this topic with explanations and examples of how these forms are used and you can find that page here.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi again,

Could you please clarify what function is performing by that clause.

As the position of the clause is at the end of the sentence, I wonder what it emphasises.

Is it emphasises the subordinate clause or the principal one?

Are these type clauses modify principal clauses or the subordinate ones?

Why the writer had not place the clause in the beginning ?

I can see such clauses mentioned in the start of the sentences on the learn English website.

I an confused as I could not make sense of the clause in my mind .

If the sentence could be explained in parts, it would be wonderful.

By breaking the sentence into parts, it can be clearly understood which clause is performing what function.

Regards ,