You are here

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.  

Choose a topic and start improving your English grammar today.



Hello Inqilab,

The sentence has going to, which is a present continuous form as you say. However, it is followed by a passive form: a passive infinitive (to be held). Passive forms require the past participle, so held is used instead of hold.

Here's another example:

Peter is going to cook a cake. [to cook = an infinitive]

The cake is going to be cooked. [to be cooked = a passive infinitive]



The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sirs,

I have this sentence: "When our life plans fall apart, sadness naturally occurs. It’s the sign of a tender heart."

My question is about the second sentence. Should I use "...the sign of..." or "...a sign of..."? Or both would be correct? My thinking is that I should not be using the since there are other signs of a tender heart. But I also feel like using the definite article, it gives an emphasis to the fact that it is a major or important sign. Am I right in my reasoning?

As always, thank you and I appreciate your help.

Hello cbenglish,

Both 'a' and 'the' are possible.

If you use 'a' then we understand that there are a number of signs of a tender heart and this is one of them. If you use 'the' then you are suggesting that only one thing shows a tender heart.



The LearnEnglish Team

These are the sentences from a reputed financial daily :

An SIP cannot give good or bad returns. Returns depend on the performance of the scheme you invest in.

And in the next paragraph :

“Investors should remember why they started a SIP in the first place. SIPs inculcate discipline that is crucial for investors to achieve long-term goals,” says Kunal Bajaj.

Here SIP means systematic investment plan.

In the first paragraph it says ' An SIP " and in the next paragraph it says " ... a SIP. " What do I undrestand from it ?

Hello dipakrgandhi

You have keen eyes! Good job spotting this inconsistency. To determine whether to use 'a' or 'an', you have to think how a word (in this case, an initialism) is pronounced -- as far as I know, 'SIP' is pronounced 'ess ai pee' and not 'sip'. In this case, as you can see from my transliteration of the pronunciation, the word begins with a vowel sound (the letter 'e' that is underlined). Therefore, 'an' would be the correct form.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sirs,

I wrote the following very first sentence:

"In a recent study, nearly half of Indians surveyed said they had experienced online abuse."

My confusion is whether I have to use the definite article before Indians:...nearly half of the Indians surveyed..."

I feel like once I have used "half of" a plural noun [Indians in the sentence]," I have to use the definite article the.


Hello cbenglish,

Generally, the definite article is required when you are describing a selected group:

all of / some of / most of / none of / half of / a majority of / a minority of the Indians surveyed


However, sometimes the article is omitted with half of, a minority of and a majority of. So in this case, both options are possible.



The LearnEnglish Team

I would like to ask you about the following example
Technology ( I am referring to the Internet, computers, social media etc) helps people's lives OR
The advanced technology of the Internet and computers helps people lives.
Is it helps or help?
Thank you in advance

" China on Friday dismissed as untrue a US media report that alleged that it has ... "

If you could explain why an indefinite article has been used here even when it refers to a very particular report.

Hi dipakrgandhi,

I can't say for sure without knowing the context, but presumably it's because this is the first time the reporter has mentioned this particular report. Although we speak about 'general' and 'specific' determiners, remember the key issue in many cases is whether we think the person we are speaking to will know which particular thing we are speaking about. If this is a radio news report, for example, and the reporter is just beginning her segment on it, she could not reasonably assume that her audience knows about the media report being discussed at this point in time.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team