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.



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,
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,



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,



The LearnEnglish Team

hello, i have a tiny problem and want your help in order to be right

1/In the light of an analysis of the Constitution, ordinary law and European Convention on Human Rights

2/In the light of an analysis of the Constitution, the ordinary law and the European Convention on Human Rights

3/In the light of an analysis of the Constitution, ordinary law and the European Convention on Human Rights

which one of the three sentences is the correct?

Hello vasilis38,

It's important to know the context, but in general the third sentence is the best.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

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,

The LearnEnglish Team