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

hey again, team British council

1. take me up the mountain
2. take me up to the mountain

1.why the U.S. can't beat an army the size of a junior college
2.why the U.S. can't beat an army of the size of a junior college
I want to know whether all of these sentences are grammatically true
P.S. i once read a sentence in an authentic magazine as "she was scared the cat"
please elaborate these kinda sentences or any link in here to explain them
Are they formal kinda sentences, i mean if its right to write them as a student?:)
would be thankful for your guidance :)

Hello omi20,

The first sentence indicates actually going up the mountain, whereas the second could indicate going up only to the base of the mountain - though it could also indicate going to the top.

In the second pair of sentences, the first one sounds more correct. The sentence about the cat is not grammatical - perhaps there was an error in that magazine.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

can u please explain a bit more about the formation of such sentences
like "when an inanimate thing has ascribed to it the attributes of a person, it is said to be personified."
"when an inanimate thing has attributes of a person ascribed to it..." is that the right way too?
hope so u got my point where i am confused at... :)
anyways...read all your web grammar..commendable work..easily understandable and more practical application of it is in here...hope so you will guide me to eradicate the last of my confusion :)
thanx again

Hello omi20,

Both of these word orders are possible:

"when an inanimate thing has ascribed to it the attributes of a person, it is said to be personified."

"when an inanimate thing has the attributes of a person ascribed to it..." [note I've added 'the' to the sentence]

Thank you for your positive comment about the site! It's great to know that we're helping people.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

sorry for bothering again...but still have some confusions regarding the word order
can u please elaborate more about word orders or gimme the link regarding it
P.S. the above U.S. sentences..can u please explain why 1 sounds more appropriate :)
thanx in advance

Hello omi20,

I wouldn't say that either of those two sentences sounds more correct than the other. Perhaps one would sound better in a specific context, but they sound equally natural to me. I'd suggest you do an internet search for 'word order' to learn more about this - there are a lot of resources out there. Explore a few and then use the one that looks most useful to you.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, I have a problem of finding one mistake in this sentence. I think it must be C or D but I don't know how to correct it. Could you help me? Thank you.
The Internet disseminates information faster than any other media.
a. disseminates
b. faster
c. any
d. media

Hello clover315,

It's not our policy on LearnEnglish to provide answers for questions from tests or homework - this is your own task, after all! However, in this case I can tell you that the sentnece looks perfectly fine to me; I can't see any error in it.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir,which sentence is correct?
1) there are so many colleges in that city and they are good.
2) there are so many colleges in that city and those are good.

Hello manasisonu,

The use of 'those' in the second sentence is not natural English. It's hard to say without knowing the context, but I would suspect that the first sentence would be better without 'so' as this would usually be followed by a 'that' clause: 'There are so many... that...'

I hope that answers your question.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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