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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Submitted by Abdul Quadir on Tue, 19/01/2016 - 22:17

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Hi there! Please check whether or not the following sentence is grammatically correct? "He is that kind of child who never listens to others." Is using "that" in the above sentence correct?

Hello Abdul Quadir,

You should use 'the' instead of 'that' in that sentence.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by shulaan on Sat, 02/01/2016 - 14:19

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Are "quantifiers" specific or general and when can they replace determiners? Please explain the difference between these two classes of words?

Hello shulaan,

The specific and general distinction refers to determiners, and examples of each are listed on the page above. Quantifiers tell us the amount or number of something. The division here is between uncountable and countable items, not specific and general.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Kelsie_29 on Thu, 17/12/2015 - 09:21

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Hello, Are both of the below sentences correct? Is there any difference in them ? His few paintings have bagged many prestigious awards. A few of his paintings have bagged many prestigious awards. Thanks

Submitted by Kirk on Fri, 18/12/2015 - 06:40

In reply to by Kelsie_29

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Hello Kelsie_29,

There's a difference between these two sentences – note that the first uses 'few' and the second 'a few'. The first one means that he has painted a small number of paintings and that all or most of them have won awards. In the second, there's the idea that he's painted many paintings and that a small number of them have won awards.

I'd also suggest you look up 'few' and 'a few' in the dictionary – see the Cambridge Dictionaries Online search box on the right side of this page. Be sure to read through the different entries and study the example sentences.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Arvan Tangahu on Fri, 02/10/2015 - 16:57

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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,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Katarina128 on Thu, 24/09/2015 - 04:42

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Hello, 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 (http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/pronouns/reciprocal-pronouns-each-other-and-one-another) 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! Katarina

Submitted by Kirk on Sun, 27/09/2015 - 09:01

In reply to by Katarina128

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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,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by annaitaly on Wed, 16/09/2015 - 14:19

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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. Thanks Anna

Hello Anna,

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

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by editorgcube on Wed, 12/08/2015 - 05:52

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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? Thanks, Faisal

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,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by vkrmsingh on Thu, 30/07/2015 - 17:21

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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?

Hello vkrmsingh,

In both of those sentences 'such' is functioning as an adjective, not an adverb. In each sentence it describes a noun. 'Such' can have several meanings but without knowing the full context it is impossible to say which meaning is relevant for each example. If you type 'such' into the dictionary search window on this page you will see the range of possible meanings and that may help you identify which is relevant in each context.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Githuga on Sun, 19/07/2015 - 06:50

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On review, looking at the determiners, I find therein Interrogative determiners. Note its written "Interrogatives: "Which denote plural, However you mentioned just one which is "which". So where does "where'" fall in the determiners? Is it not an interrogative determiner. Do you require to review the plural into singular "determiner"?As for 'what' which is placed under general determiners.

Hello Githuga,

I'm afraid I'm not sure what you mean here, and I can't tell to which part of our explanation you are referring. If you have a query about the grammar information on this page please quote exactly the sentence about which you wish to ask, and state exactly what your query is. We'll be happy to try to explain.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ritesh46 on Wed, 15/07/2015 - 04:37

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Hi sir, i can use child, girls, education,health in the form of uncount noun. thank.

Hello yogesh,

You can find the answers in the dictionary (see the search box on the lower right). [U] means 'uncount' and [C] means 'count'. Note that some nouns can be used in both ways.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir, sorry,i make small mistake in above question. my question is '' i can use child ,girls, education, health in the form of both count & uncount noun''. thank.

Hello yogesh mani tripathi,

As Kirk said, you can find this information by using our Cambridge Dictionaries Online tool. Just type each word into the window and click 'Look it up!' to get information on each word, including whether it is countable or uncountable.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by mahamed elkot on Sun, 05/07/2015 - 13:32

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I need your advice to help to speak in a good way. I write well ana iam good in grammar But i need to speak what shall i do ?

Hello mahamed elkot,

I'd recommend you follow the advice under 'How can I improve my speaking?' on our Help page. Many of our users have told us it worked for them, and I'm sure you can learn a lot from it as well.

Good luck!

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Rahul Paul on Thu, 02/07/2015 - 07:37

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I have no friend or I have no friends - which one is correct? and why?

Hello Rahul,

Both are correct, depending on what you mean. In this use, 'no' is a more emphatic way of saying 'I don't have any friend(s)'. The plural form is more common, but the singular is also possible.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by daman daman on Mon, 22/06/2015 - 14:50

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Hi, when i write an essay , i always do mistakes by not applying a or the in my sentences excluding in starting of sentences . I read many times a and the rules but i am still doing mistakes in their usage in the sentences . Please provide me an effective technique in this regard.

Hello daman daman,

Learning to use articles is a big challenge for many people. One thing that many neglect to take full advantage of is reading – read texts similar to the ones you want to write as often as you can, taking note of how articles are used in them, and then imitate these uses in your own writing. Finding a teacher who can correct your mistakes and explain them to you would also probably be useful. Unfortunately, we are too small a team to be able to help you with that ourselves.

Good luck!

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by krishna0891 on Mon, 22/06/2015 - 03:26

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Hello The Learn English Team, I read your quantifiers page i have a lot of doubts in this.By this i know only difference between" few" and "few of the"but i do not know the difference between" few" and "a few". Can you tell me the difference.For example "He was not promoted to rank of colonel till for a few months of his retirement" why it is "a few" not "few. "This town is not very well known and there is not much to see so few tourists come here.In this sentence why it is "few" not "a few". please tell me the difference.

Submitted by dhunsik on Tue, 26/05/2015 - 23:42

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Hello everyone! Please help me know whether 'however' and 'otherwise' are determiners ?!

Hell dhunsik,

You can find this out by looking these words up in the dictionary. Note there's a handy search box on the lower right side of this page.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by m.praveen.k on Fri, 15/05/2015 - 23:26

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Hi, Please help me with this doubt. When using industry specific terminologies like Employee ID number, or Member ID number in a conversation, is it a must to say Employee's ID number, or Member's ID number? Though I understand the usage of 's, I feel it is not required as Member ID or Employee ID is a collective terminology used in documents, systems, Id cards, etc. I also see that in many documents, companies use them without the 's. Particularly when someone is asking "what is the Member Id # of the patient?"or "what is the Employee ID of your team member?" or "Subscriber ID # please", is it necessary to use 's (Member's ID # is, Employee's ID # is, or Subscriber ID # is". Will it anyway be wrong to reply with the 's. Please clarify. Thank you, Praveen Muthiah

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 17/05/2015 - 13:37

In reply to by m.praveen.k

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Hi Praveen,

We don't use the 's in these words, so the correct form is 'Member ID number' and 'Employee ID number'.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter, Thank you so much for the clarification. It will be great if you could also advise on why an 's with these terms would be incorrect. I truly appreciate your efforts to help learners across the globe. Regards, Praveen Muthiah

Hello Praveen,

The words you ask about are compound nouns, which are often a combination of two nouns that act as one word – others, for example, are 'mineral water', 'tea leaves', 'sunglasses'. The first word acts kind of like an adjective, and no 's is used. This is just the way such nouns are formed. There is no easy way to determine whether you can combine two different nouns or not; you must use a dictionary to determine this sort of thing.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Kamran Ibragimov on Sun, 19/04/2015 - 15:00

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Thank you very much. Could you help me again please? Not only married individuals in this age have the scarcity of finance, but also increased numbers of responsibilities. Is the article before scarcity is correct? And can I use instead of the article plural form(scarcities). Could you outline any mistakes please. Thank you beforehand.

Hello Kamran,

This phrasing sounds unusual to me, but probably no article would be used here, unless this scarcity has already been referred to before this sentence. I think the singular form is better than the plural form here.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Kamran Ibragimov on Fri, 17/04/2015 - 14:10

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Hello. Could you help me please with the following sentence. Art is liable to be misconceived, because of increased complexity of genres and ideas in this medium. Should I use an article before "increased"? Could you correct any mistakes please. Thank you beforehand.

Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 18/04/2015 - 14:09

In reply to by Kamran Ibragimov

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Hello Kamran Ibragimov,

You need to use the definite article ('the') before 'increased'. The rest of the sentence is fine.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by eri 85 on Tue, 31/03/2015 - 17:37

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hello can you you help with this sentense? Is it correct? Mary is a resident of the village Borsh of the commune Borsh.

Submitted by Kirk on Wed, 01/04/2015 - 07:05

In reply to by eri 85

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Hello eri,

That looks good to me. You could also use 'in' for 'in the commune of Borsh', but 'of' is also fine.

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Myanmar student on Mon, 30/03/2015 - 08:54

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Mingalar par British council team I want to become a air hostess so I wish to learn English language.

Hello Myanmar student,

Welcome to LearnEnglish! I hope we can help you achieve your dream. Work hard and I'm sure you'll succeed!

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by bala_j on Sat, 28/03/2015 - 15:42

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who and when & why - the rule was defined that "a" should be used with consonant and "an" should be used with a vowel sound

Hello bala_j,

Do you have a question? If so, could you please state it more clearly?

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by greyish on Tue, 10/03/2015 - 07:06

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hi! Is there a difference between these two sentences? Most of the houses have red roofs. Most houses have red roofs. Thank you!

Submitted by Kirk on Wed, 11/03/2015 - 07:26

In reply to by greyish

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Hello greyish,

Yes, there is a difference: in the first, a specific group of houses (e.g. the houses in one town) is referred to, whereas in the second, it speaks about all houses in general.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team