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Determiners and quantifiers

Determiners and quantifiers are words we use in front of nouns. We use determiners to identify things (this book, my sister) and we use quantifiers to say how much or how many (a few people, a lot of problems).

Read clear grammar explanations and example sentences to help you understand how determiners and quantifiers are used. Then, put your grammar knowledge into practice by doing the exercises.  

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Comments

Dear Team,
1)This is the place where John proposed to Mia.
When I want to tell the listener about a place which he doesn't know, then Shouldn't we use 'a instead of 'the'?
2) This is a beautiful place.
(If the listener already know about the place,
Shouldn't we use "the" instead of "a"?
Thank You!!!

Hi DaniWeebKage,

Good questions! I'll put my answers below.

  1. No, we need the in this sentence. Although the listener may not know this place, the speaker means a very specific and defined place: the place where John proposed to Mia. (I am assuming that John proposed to Mia only once.) If you say This is a place where John proposed to Mia, it means that John proposed to Mia several times and in different places, and this place is one of them.
  2. Yes, you could use the if the listener knows the place, especially if the speaker has spoken about it before. But it would be more common to refer explicitly to that previous conversation, e.g. This is the beautiful place that I told you about. Otherwise, the reference to the previous conversation may not be clear. But, there is another possible (and maybe more commonly used) meaning: we can say a beautiful place if we mean that this place is not the only beautiful place in the world; it's one of them. Even if the listener already knows this place, the definite article goes with the first noun as an alternative to This, e.g. The/This beach is a beautiful place.

Does that make sense?

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,
I would like to ask the following
When we are talking about a specific book we say
The book
Is the following correct
The book is interesting.
This book is interesting.
Is it the same meaning?
This book is mine
The book is mine
Is it the same meaning?
Thank you in advance

Hi Nagie23,

We use the definite article the when we can say that the item is identified and known to both the speaker and the listener (or writer and reader). Thus, if I say 'the book' then I am making an assumption that you know which book I am talking about.

Determiners such as this and that are slightly different. They also refer to a particular item, but they implicitly contrast the item with other items. When I say 'this book' I mean 'not that book/those books'. Thus, while 'the book' depends on existing knowledge (you already know which book we are talking about), 'this book' serves to identify the book in contrast to other books (you did not know which book we are talking about and I am identifying it for you).

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello there,

Hope all is well.

I came across the terms "Definite Determiner" and "Indefinite Determiner", I can't figure out what that is. I found a few questions in a book where they ask to identify whether the words in quotes are Definite or Indefinite. Do they just refer to the usage of definite (the) and indefinite (a, an) articles?

1. Internet radio stations have added "a new dimension".
2. ...which could affect "the speed of other activities" that you indulge in online.
3. ...especially those who love music from all over "the world".

Appreciate the help :-)

Hello AllyEnglish,

Yes, it sounds to me as if they mean what you suggest.

Best wishes,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks so much

Sir(s),

Please, why is the definite article in the phrase "the impossible" used? Since an article cannot be used with an adjective unless it's used to represent a class just as in "the poor"?

Hello Abdulsalam,

I'm afraid I'd need to know the context to be able to answer that. 

It's true that we don't generally use an article before an adjective in this way, except when speaking about nationalities or well-known groups, e.g. 'the poor', 'the elderly', etc.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,
I want to know the difference between the two sentences below. It get me somewhat confused if the article "a" should be added. Which is correct?

1. They considered her heroine.
2. They considered her a heroine.

Thanks.

Progress.

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