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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Hello Ashima,

It depends. If the insurance transactions you're talking about have already been mentioned -- for example, if it's a specific set of transactions that have already been mentioned -- then yes, 'the' should be used. But if it's speaking about transactions in general, then 'the' should not be used.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Sheree99 le jeu 22/06/2017 - 10:49

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Hi, Can you please tell me the difference between every and all. Context, I need a copy of every page of the document. I need a copy of all pages of the document. Which is 'more' correct Thanks

Hello Sheree99,

There's a detailed explanation of this on the Cambridge Dictionary's All or every page? Please take a look at that and then if you have any other specific questions, you're welcome to ask us here.

As you'll see when you read through that page, you could say both 'every page' or 'all the pages' are correct and mean pretty much the same thing -- they just view the pages either as separate units or a single one.

'all the pages' is better than 'all pages' because 'all' + noun is generally used to refer to literally all pages everywhere, whereas here you're talking about a specific document, i.e. a specific set of pages.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par JakiGeh le mar 20/06/2017 - 17:23

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Hello, 'Rent makes up half of the living expenses' Is the only reason we don't use ''a'' before half because half of expenses is still an uncountable noun? Thank you in advance

Soumis par Peter M. le mer 21/06/2017 - 06:53

En réponse à par JakiGeh

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Hello JakiGeh,

The use of articles with 'half' is not entirely consistent. It is possible to use 'a' here:

... a half of the living expenses

And this follows the pattern of other fractions:

... a third of ...

... a quarter of ...

... a tenth of ...

However, no article is much more common with 'half'. It is not dependent on the noun which follows:

I'll have half of the money, please.

I'll use half of the apple in this recipe.

Give me half of the chairs.

 

This is an example of a word which is common enough to have developed idiosyncrasies in its use, I'm afraid.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Bassant El-Ghazaly le sam 10/06/2017 - 17:42

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Hello , Is it possible to use the word "eye" to refer to a person ? EX: 10 eyes looked at him that means ten persons or just five Thanks in advance

Soumis par Peter M. le dim 11/06/2017 - 08:21

En réponse à par Bassant El-Ghazaly

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Hello Bassant El-Ghazaly,

It is possible to say something like this. It has a literary ring to it and would be unusual in other contexts.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Atlas le ven 09/06/2017 - 12:13

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Hello. Am I correct that in the sentence 'What I want is some milk.', that 'What' is acting as a general determiner before the pronoun 'I' that follows it. Thank you for help.

Hello Atlas,

There doesn't seem to be a clear consensus on what part of speech 'what' is in a pseudo-cleft sentence such as this one, but I'd call it a pronoun, as it is the object of 'I want' and head of the relative clause 'What I want'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par bengalcliff le jeu 08/06/2017 - 10:10

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My question, and if possible, could you note a rule that supports, if a determiner or quantifier, is not used for example: "Trees have leaves." Does this mean "All trees have leaves."?

Hello bengalcliff,

When we speak about countable things in general, probably the most common form to use is the plural (e.g. 'Trees have leaves', 'Dogs are man's best friend'). This means more or less the same as 'All trees have leaves', but 'all trees' can mean something a bit more specific. 'Trees' refers to trees in general (with perhaps a few exceptions), whereas 'all trees' really means all trees, i.e. all the different species of trees. But in many cases, these two different phrasings will mean essentially the same thing.

As for rules, our Articles 1 and 2 pages explain the three golden rules of using articles. I hope this helps you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Ashima le lun 05/06/2017 - 05:47

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"The integration will enable document and email generation by xyz and the storage of the generated documents and emails in abc's storage." Why should 'the' be used with storage?

Soumis par Ashima le lun 05/06/2017 - 05:40

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"Digital tools can support policy agendas and facilitate the achievement of opportunities for businesses, consumers, and government." Why 'the' with the word achievement? Achievement cannot be counted, and it is not te only one of its type.

Soumis par Ashima le lun 05/06/2017 - 04:20

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This can be leveraged to support the economic growth and development trajectories of emerging economies. Why do we use 'the' with economic growth in the sentence above?

Hello Ashima,

We use the definite article here because we are not talking about economic growth in general but rather the economic growth of a specified group ('...of emerging economies').

The definite article is often used with specifying phrases such as 'of...'. You can find many examples in names of states:

the United States of America

the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much, Peter. The reply was very helpful. Would you also let me know why should 'the' not be used with 'consumer' in the following sentence? "Technology supports SMEs in responding to consumer-driven change". Is it not a specific type of change? If I were to rephrase the sentence, could it mean the following? "Technology supports SMEs in responding to the changes of a particular type - driven by consumers."

Hello Ashima,

It's difficult to comment on sentences without knowing the context. Articles are reference devices - they tell us if information is shared or new, for example. The context, therefore, is key. There are also genre and style issues. For example, articles are often omitted in headlines for reasons of space.

I would guess, not knowing the context, that here 'consumer-driven change' is used in a general sense. In other words, technology helps... whenever any consumer-driven change occurs. If we use 'the' then we must refer to a particular example (the consumer-driven change of the last three years / the consumer-driven change I mentioned in the previous paragraph etc).

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Lydi le ven 02/06/2017 - 04:23

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can you say - where were you before? (where were you and specific time?)

Hello Lydi,

Yes, that is certainly possible, grammatically speaking. Whether or not it is appropriate will depend upon the context and the speaker's intention, however.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par JakiGeh le jeu 01/06/2017 - 21:25

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Hi there, ''I won't be in town tomorrow'' I know that there are some exceptions when we don't use articles. I just waned to ask if this is a fixed expression (in town) meaning something particular? Thanks

Hi JakiGeh,

I think this is best treated as a fixed expression. There is no equivalent using 'village' or 'city', for example. The meaning is usually 'in the (town/city) centre' and is used by people from the suburbs or outskirts of a town or city.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Adya's le mer 24/05/2017 - 08:32

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Hi Do we use articles for community names in plurals, like Hindus, Muslims, or Christians? Would it be correct to say, "Holi is the festival of Hindus"? Or shall we say, "Holi is the festival of the Hindus"? Please clarify.

Soumis par Kirk le jeu 25/05/2017 - 13:00

En réponse à par Adya's

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Hello Adya's,

Articles are used if appropriate, but it's also possible for them not to be needed. For example, 'Muslims will begin celebrating Ramadan in a couple of days' doesn't require an article or 'Maha Shivaratri is an important festival for Hindus', but 'the Hindus' is also possible if you're talking about a specific group, e.g. 'the Hindus of Nepal' could be needed if you'd already been talking about them.

It's more common in British English to say 'Holi is a Hindu festival' than 'Holi is a festival of the Hindus'. As far as I know, there is no reason for this -- it's more just a question of usage.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Adya's le dim 14/05/2017 - 12:19

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Dear Peter M Thanks for your prompt response. Most part of the doubt has been cleared; however, some traces remain. Can you suggest me some more blogs pages related to the topic so that even traces are wiped off. Regards

Hello Adya's,

I'm afraid we don't recommend sites outside the British Council. An internet search for 'definite article' or 'articles general meaning' will give you many results to sample. If you stick to reputable sources (publishing houses, academic institutions and so on) then you should find relevant and accurate information.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I did search the net as you suggested, but failed to find anything worthwhile. Please take some to write a fresh, detailed write-up on the topic. It will help many. Thanks.

Hello Adya's,

Thanks for your suggestion, which we will certainly take into consideration for the future. For now, however, I'm afraid we're unable to provide what you request. As Peter suggested, I would recommend looking for explanations at other reputable website, for example, the Cambridge Dictionary.

Good luck!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Adya's le dim 14/05/2017 - 06:53

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'A/an' is used to denote a class of thing. 'The' is also used to denote a class of thing. Then, is there any difference in the following two sentences? Please elaborate. 1. A cow is a useful animal. 2. The cow is a useful animal. Regards

Hello Adya's,

English uses articles in quite a complex way to talk about classes of things. I wrote a long explanation of this a few months ago so I'll link you to that comment, which I think should be helpful for you. You can find it here:

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/comment/101839#comment-101839

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par JamlMakav le ven 12/05/2017 - 18:20

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Hello, ''We went swimming at Ocean Park'' Why don't we use the article the before the proper noun here? Or here (either a or the) ''Everything for baby'' Thank you

Soumis par Peter M. le sam 13/05/2017 - 06:33

En réponse à par JamlMakav

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Hello JamlMakav,

We generally do not use articles before names. Thus we would say 'I went to the swimming pool' but 'I went to World of Water' and 'I went to the supermarket' but 'I went to Tesco'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Yuriy UA le mer 10/05/2017 - 11:52

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Hello The LearnEnglish Team, Unfortunately, my question does not match directly the material covered above. I am fully aware of the fact you comment ONLY on material provided by your website. However, I dare to hope for your help. I simply didn't find material dealing with prepositions. Would you be so kind to say which variant is correct: on a damp night OR in a damp night Anyway, many thanks for your help. Kind regards, Yuriy from Ukraine.

Hello Yuriy UA,

I'm glad you asked, as this is closely related to the content on this page -- in other words, your question is completely appropriate here.

When we're speaking about a specific night, usually the preposition 'on' is used, so in this case 'on a damp night' is the correct version. It is possible to use 'in' with 'night', but in that case, there would be a definite article, i.e. 'in the night'. English prepositions are highly irregular!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Adiliii le ven 05/05/2017 - 11:22

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How do you do? Choose She got the full mark on her exams.She (must be-must have been).

Hello Adiliii,

You could say both 'must be' and 'must have been' in that sentence, though there must also be another word or words after it. For example, 'She must be happy'. If you say 'must be', you are talking about now. If you say 'must have been', you are talking about the past. See our modals + have page for more on this.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Chiranjib Sahoo le jeu 04/05/2017 - 18:26

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Hi everyone! Could you please tell me if this sentence is correct: "This house and this car is not mine yet"? Should it be 'is' or 'are'? I guess, it should be 'are'. What are your thoughts? Also, do you think I have used my punctuation marks correctly in my question. Thank You.

Hi Chiranjib Sahoo,

This sentence has a compound subject (two nouns here joined by 'and') and shoud have a plural verb, so 'are' is correct.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Petals le sam 22/04/2017 - 06:44

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Hello, Which quantifies can I use with mass nouns like software ? Is it correct to say 'many software enable us to ..." ? Regards, Petals

Soumis par Peter M. le sam 22/04/2017 - 08:45

En réponse à par Petals

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Hello Petals,

On the right of this page you can see some links, one of which is marked 'quantifiers'. On that page you can see which quantifiers can be used with count and which with uncount nouns.

We would not use 'many' with uncount nouns like 'software'. You could say 'a lot of', for example, or (more formally) 'much'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par SonuKumar le mer 05/04/2017 - 13:00

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Sir, In this sentence 'They have published a report on the or a website' what should I use the or a before website ? And could you please tell me where not to use article the ?

Soumis par Bassant El-Ghazaly le sam 18/03/2017 - 21:47

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Hello, If the question was " Are the trees looked after by the gardener ? " ...................What would the answer be ? yes, they are or yes , he does Thank you in advance

Soumis par Peter M. le dim 19/03/2017 - 07:26

En réponse à par Bassant El-Ghazaly

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Hello Bassant El-Ghazaly,

The question here is about the trees, not the gardener, so the answer must be also about the trees:

Are the trees looked after by the gardener? Yes, they are.

Does the gardener look after the trees? Yes, he does.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par raj-ay1 le mar 14/02/2017 - 02:28

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Hi! i really need some help :) could you tell me if these words are determiners or other thing ( between quotation marks) - he was a friend of "mine" - he has never seen "such" a pack of wolves - she is "my friend's" daughter thank you in advance

Soumis par Kirk le mar 14/02/2017 - 08:02

En réponse à par raj-ay1

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Hello raj-ay1,

You can find out what kind of words these are by searching for them in the Cambridge Dictionary. If you look up 'such', for example, you'll see what I mean.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par zagrus le mer 11/01/2017 - 09:25

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Hi, What does the word such in the following sentence mean ( He is such a man, woman, student, etc.) ? Thanks in advance

Soumis par Peter M. le jeu 12/01/2017 - 07:35

En réponse à par zagrus

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Hi zagrus,

It means something like 'this kind of', but more than that it is impossible to say without knowing the context.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Mauludin le mar 10/01/2017 - 16:57

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Hi everyone! Could you please tell me which part is missing in the sentence below? "Please be sure everybody has their ticket ready to give to the man at the door." My teacher told me that it should be "has the ticket ready" but I was not really sure while both "their" and "the" are determiner.

Hi Mauludin,

There is nothing missing from the sentence you quote - it is complete.

You can use 'the' or 'their' in the sentence. I think 'their' is more likely but both are possible.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team