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.




Hello Rox4090,

It's difficult to explain this kind of thing, but in general what comes after the colon should give more information about the results or reason of the first, though other relationships are also possible.

As for your sentence, 'defunct machine' should have an article before it, probably 'a', and the phrasal verb is 'rip off': 'A defunct machine was sold to me: companies are ripping off customers.' With those small adjustments, your sentence is correct.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Please check this.

Unfortunately, I have to buy a new bike; my old bike was stolen.
Next week,I am going to Uk: I have to attend a business meeting there.

Are these correct ?

Hi Rox4090,

Yes, those sentences look fine to me. The first example uses a semicolon to join two separate but related sentences. The second example uses a colon as the second part of the sentence provides more detail about the action in the first part.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Please check these.

Tomorrow, I have my birthday: I am going to throw a party although I am not inviting everyone.

You should not watch the television all the time: your eyesight will become weak, which is proven scientifically.

Please examine these if these are correct and make sense.

Why we say photos from austrailian squad not from the austrailian squad. As we are talking about a particular squad.

Hello aseel aftab,

I think 'from the Australian squad' is correct here. Although I don't know the full context in which the sentence appears 'from Australian squad' does not look correct to me.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Please see this sentence.

As for my next directorial, I have been working on a script. But I am not fully satisfied with it. It make sense to talk about it,only once it is ready.

Last sentence “ it” pronoun comes thrice in the sentence and creating confusion.

What “it” refers to?
How two “it”” are present in the sentence ?
Please explain.

Hello Rox4090,

As I mentioned in another comment, you have to make your best guess given the context. In this case, common sense suggests that 'it' refers to the script (except where 'it' is a dummy subject at the beginning of the third sentence).

Our role here in the comments is to help our users get the most out of our site. We're happy to answer questions directly related to what's on our pages and we occasionally answer other less directly related questions. But I'm afraid we're not able to answer so many questions about sentences that don't come from our site, as they often contain errors or structures which are not standard.

The third sentence you ask about, for example, sounds unnatural to me. I wouldn't recommend regarding it as a model English sentence.

You might want to consider a course at a British Council centre in Israel, where you could get much more personalised attention from your teacher.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


I mean to say this or this issue which one will add more cohesiveness to the context.

Please check this.

In UK, Crime rate is increasing on a rampant pace.This/This issue can be resolved by countermeasures.

In the above sentence, please check the word ‘ This”. Is rightly used and which one makes the text more cohesive?