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.


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



Hi sir. How are you, I hope you're fine.

I have learned before about how to use ANY and I got that the use of any is for plural persons and it can be used for negative sentence or interrogative sentence.
For example: I don't have any birds. Do you have any birds.

and your example sentence above is It’s very easy. Any child can do it. (= All children can do it)

why didn't you say ANY CHILDREN CAN DO IT!

thank you, I really need your answers. I hope you can respond it soon.

Best regard

Muh Arvan Pradiansah
English teacher of Islamic nature school.

Hi Muh Arvan Pradiansah,

It would be perfectly fine to say 'Any children can do it'.

'Any child' means any particular single child; 'any children' means the same but refers to more than one child - 'any team of two', for example, though the sentence does not specify how many.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


There is explained that we use another to talk about an additional person or thing and that the plural form of another is other. In one of previous lessons about reciprocal pronouns ( is written that each other is for two people and one another is for more than two people. Can you please explain me such a difference in a meaning of those two words (other and another).

Thank you in advance!


Hello Katarina128,

'another' and 'one another' are two different expressions and are used differently – I think that's what's confusing you here. If it's still unclear to you, please try reading the two explanations again, keeping in mind that they are different. If you still understand after that, you're welcome to ask us specific questions about the topic and we'll do our best to help you.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hallo everyone,
could someone, please, explain me the differences between "if" and "whether" (I know "if" for relative clauses)
Is "whether" used in the common language. I have never heard it at all.


Hello Anna,

There's a good explanation of this on the following BBC page. I hope this helps you!

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Everyone,

I seek help in validating the phrase 'the many different contexts' in the following sentence.

What we need is a broader understanding of what counts as correct and appropriate to the many different contexts in which we use language.

The sentence has been used on some dictionary website, which I assume should be valid.

However, I need to learn the grammatical relevance of the modifying phrase 'the many' in the given sentence. In my opinion, the determiners 'the' and 'many' are not used together.

Does 'many' imply 'various' in this sentence?


Hello Faisal,

It is perfectly possible to use 'the' with 'many' and the definite article here has its normal meaning. 'Many' also has its regular meaning of 'a large number'.

'in many different contexts' = non-specified contexts

'the many different contexts' = specific contexts (here, those in which we use language)

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

There is need to be described the diffrent uses of 'such ' as an adverb or a determiner. 'Such a leader....' and 'such an amount......'
are two phrases respectively having 'such' as an adverb and an adjective. What is the difference of meaning of 'such' in both two phrases?