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 an 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.



What's the difference between a determiner of quantifiers and pronoun. Some dictionaries also say one thing is both pronoun and determiner and their uses are also same so how can we avoid confusions?

Hello aseel aftab,

Words can have different uses, so a word like 'fast' can be an adjective (a fast car), and adverb (go fast) and a verb (fast for a week), for example.

With regard to the names given to these forms, please see my answer to your other question below.



The LearnEnglish Team

Are they not demonstrative adjectives or simply adjectives as they are describing noun? This is what I have read in an english learning book plz guide

Hello aseel aftab,

Different labels can be applied to determiners. You can find a discussion of this on the relevant wikipedia page in the section headed 'Description':



The LearnEnglish Team

hello why we should use article definite the in this sentence?:

I love living in ____the__ country. I love ___the___ peace and quiet you find there.

Hello Abdel El,

We use the definite article when something is specfied for both the speaker and listener. One way to think of this is that if we use the definite article then we can answer the question 'which'.


For example, in your sentence we can ask these questions:

Which country?

Which peace and quiet?


The answers are:

Not just any country, but the country I love.

Not just any peace and quiet, but the peace and quiet you find in the country the speaker loves.


I hope that helps the clarify it for you.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello dear Peter,
Thank you, thank you a lot.

Hello dear team,
Could you kindly use the phrase (very much though) in a sentence. I can not provide the context, I heard it on an interview with a star, it is so fast that I can not hear it.
Thank you

Hello Hosseinpour,

I can't be sure, but I think the phrase you heard may have been very much so rather than very much though.

Very much so is a way of agreeing with something in an emphatic way:

Do you like swimming?

Very much so! I go swimming every morning, in fact.

You can read more about the phrase here and here.


We do not use very much though as a phrase. The words can occur together, but as separate phrases:

I like swimming very much, though I don't go swimming very often.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello dear Kirk,
Thank you, thanks a lot.