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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Soumis par p t balagopal le dim 29/08/2021 - 07:18

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Hi , Is it correct to use 'a' before the word 'sense' in the sentence below? If I replace it with 'the ' what difference in meaning would it make? Kindly let me know. " The book seems to evoke a sense of 'we and others ' in the readers' ---- minds."

Soumis par Peter M. le dim 29/08/2021 - 09:19

En réponse à par p t balagopal

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Hello p t balagopal,

It's certainly correct to use 'a' here.

I think you could use 'the' if you had specified a particular sense of 'we and others'. For example, you would need to talk about several kinds of senses of we and others and then specific a particular one. As you can probably see, this seems a very unlikely context!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par p t balagopal le mar 09/11/2021 - 13:26

En réponse à par p t balagopal

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Sir,
No article has been used before the words 'collector' and 'professor' in the sentence.Why? Could please let me know.

" Jhon had just been promoted to collector and George to professor."

Hello p t balagopal,

This sentence describes positions at work rather than Jhon's profession. In this case, where we're speaking about positions in general, we don't use an article before the name of the position.

Please note, though, that if we wanted to say what Jhon's profession is, we'd say 'Jhon is a collector'.

Hope this helps you make sense of it.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par p t balagopal le lun 05/07/2021 - 12:18

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Hi, Please let me know whether the use of 'THE' before 'blue and white' in the following sentence is correct. " I request you to change the category of the card from the blue to the white." .Here, the color of the card indicates the level of service offered to the customers of a public distribution system.

Soumis par Jonathan R le lun 05/07/2021 - 13:40

En réponse à par p t balagopal

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Hi p t balagopal,

No, it should be without the both times. Normally we don't put the article before the names of colours, unless there's another noun (e.g. the blue category / the blue one).

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, Thank you Are these nouns [ category or one ] implied after blue and white? Or is it that "THE' must not be added If they are not mentioned at all?

Soumis par Jonathan R le mar 06/07/2021 - 04:01

En réponse à par p t balagopal

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Hi p t balagopal,

Yes, blue and white clearly refer to category in that sentence, but it would be very unusual to use the. In fact, I understand blue and white as adjectives here (not nouns).

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par p t balagopal le dim 04/07/2021 - 12:30

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Hi, I am very confused about the use of 'THE' in the following sentence. " The stars seem very beautiful tonight". Could you please explain?

Soumis par Kirk le lun 05/07/2021 - 07:39

En réponse à par p t balagopal

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Hello p t balagopal,

The speaker is talking about the stars that are visible tonight (which are not all the stars in the universe). The person they are speaking to is probably also looking at the stars. By using 'the', the speaker shows that they are confident that the listener knows which specific group of stars (in this case, the group of stars seems to be all the stars they can see in the sky at that time, on that night, in that particular place) they are talking about.

The sentence 'Stars are very beautiful tonight' wouldn't be correct because there is a conflict: 'stars' refers to all the stars that exist in the universe, but 'tonight' limits the sentence to talking only about the stars visible in that specific situation.

'Stars are very beautiful' is a correct sentence. It is a general statement not limited to a particular situation.

I hope that helps you make sense of it.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Gendeng le mer 17/02/2021 - 11:45

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Which is correct, at or on? Lessons on The LearnEnglish are very useful. Lessons at The LearnEnglish are very useful.

Soumis par Crix_B le ven 18/12/2020 - 15:48

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Hello. I want to ask a question. I have to take an exam next summer and I can't find anything about the omission of the article and the subject. Can I receive a piece of guidance?

Hello Crix_B,

Are you referring to 'ellipsis'? I'm afraid it's not clear to me what exactly you're referring to.

In general, the comments are a space where we can help our users who have questions about our materials or who have short, specific questions related to our content. We're happy to point you to other resources, but could you provide an example of what you mean to help us understand what your question is?

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

 

Soumis par DaniWeebKage le sam 14/11/2020 - 10:16

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Dear Team, 1)This is the place where John proposed to Mia. When I want to tell the listener about a place which he doesn't know, then Shouldn't we use 'a instead of 'the'? 2) This is a beautiful place. (If the listener already know about the place, Shouldn't we use "the" instead of "a"? Thank You!!!

Soumis par Jonathan R le dim 15/11/2020 - 03:53

En réponse à par DaniWeebKage

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Hi DaniWeebKage,

Good questions! I'll put my answers below.

  1. No, we need the in this sentence. Although the listener may not know this place, the speaker means a very specific and defined place: the place where John proposed to Mia. (I am assuming that John proposed to Mia only once.) If you say This is a place where John proposed to Mia, it means that John proposed to Mia several times and in different places, and this place is one of them.
  2. Yes, you could use the if the listener knows the place, especially if the speaker has spoken about it before. But it would be more common to refer explicitly to that previous conversation, e.g. This is the beautiful place that I told you about. Otherwise, the reference to the previous conversation may not be clear. But, there is another possible (and maybe more commonly used) meaning: we can say a beautiful place if we mean that this place is not the only beautiful place in the world; it's one of them. Even if the listener already knows this place, the definite article goes with the first noun as an alternative to This, e.g. The/This beach is a beautiful place.

Does that make sense?

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Nagie23 le dim 08/11/2020 - 08:32

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Hi, I would like to ask the following When we are talking about a specific book we say The book Is the following correct The book is interesting. This book is interesting. Is it the same meaning? This book is mine The book is mine Is it the same meaning? Thank you in advance

Soumis par Peter M. le lun 09/11/2020 - 08:00

En réponse à par Nagie23

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Hi Nagie23,

We use the definite article the when we can say that the item is identified and known to both the speaker and the listener (or writer and reader). Thus, if I say 'the book' then I am making an assumption that you know which book I am talking about.

Determiners such as this and that are slightly different. They also refer to a particular item, but they implicitly contrast the item with other items. When I say 'this book' I mean 'not that book/those books'. Thus, while 'the book' depends on existing knowledge (you already know which book we are talking about), 'this book' serves to identify the book in contrast to other books (you did not know which book we are talking about and I am identifying it for you).

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Nujome le jeu 17/12/2020 - 20:30

En réponse à par Nagie23

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The first one you used the article the which means you and the listener exactly know what are you talking about . The second sentence you used demonstrative (this) which is clear the book could be one meter away from you and you can see it. (Both sentences are correct . I hope you get better answers from teachers because I'm not native speaker just a learner like you

Soumis par AllyEnglish le ven 09/10/2020 - 08:50

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Hello there, Hope all is well. I came across the terms "Definite Determiner" and "Indefinite Determiner", I can't figure out what that is. I found a few questions in a book where they ask to identify whether the words in quotes are Definite or Indefinite. Do they just refer to the usage of definite (the) and indefinite (a, an) articles? 1. Internet radio stations have added "a new dimension". 2. ...which could affect "the speed of other activities" that you indulge in online. 3. ...especially those who love music from all over "the world". Appreciate the help :-)

Hello AllyEnglish,

Yes, it sounds to me as if they mean what you suggest.

Best wishes,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Abdulsalam le mer 22/07/2020 - 00:47

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Sir(s), Please, why is the definite article in the phrase "the impossible" used? Since an article cannot be used with an adjective unless it's used to represent a class just as in "the poor"?

Soumis par Kirk le mer 22/07/2020 - 14:30

En réponse à par Abdulsalam

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Hello Abdulsalam,

I'm afraid I'd need to know the context to be able to answer that. 

It's true that we don't generally use an article before an adjective in this way, except when speaking about nationalities or well-known groups, e.g. 'the poor', 'the elderly', etc.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Progress le jeu 02/07/2020 - 09:31

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Hello Sir, I want to know the difference between the two sentences below. It get me somewhat confused if the article "a" should be added. Which is correct? 1. They considered her heroine. 2. They considered her a heroine. Thanks. Progress.

Hello Progress,

1 is not correct and 2 is correct. Being a heroine is not exactly a profession, but we use 'a' before a person's profession (for example, 'I am a teacher', 'She is a pastor', etc.).

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par p t balagopal le jeu 25/06/2020 - 05:35

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Sir, Is it correct to replace "the" with "a "before 'sum' in the following sentence? " She was paid the sum of Rupees 50,000 for that book on Indian history" Kindly explain.

Soumis par Peter M. le jeu 25/06/2020 - 07:36

En réponse à par p t balagopal

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Hello p t balagopal,

Yes, you can use either a or the here. When we give a concrete figure in a context like this we can use either the definite or indefinite article.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Timmy Ferrer le ven 12/06/2020 - 01:38

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Hello, may i ask for your help in clarifying these ones: 1. Which is correct, "a", "the", or "both"? "When I see people ignoring (a/the) speech of a politician near a station, I always wonder what they are thinking." 2. If you use a plural noun, for example "statesmen"/"politicians", should it be "speeches"? "When I see people walking without listening to statesmen giving (a speech/speeches) near a station, I always wonder how they're feeling." Thank you in advance!

Hello Timmy Ferrer

You could use all of the options that you mention in those sentences, though they would mean different things. For example, in 1, if you said 'a speech', I would understand it to mean the formal talk (see the second meaning) that the politician is giving. If you said 'the speech', there are two possibilities. It could also refer the formal talk she is giving, but which has already been mentioned in some way. Or 'speech' could refer to the way she speaks (under the first meaning).

Hope this helps.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Michaelgeorge le jeu 13/02/2020 - 03:59

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Hello sir, In this sentence below I need some more sugar. Here, are some and more determiners? If they are determiners can we use two quantity determiners together or Is more a adjective? Thanks in advance

Soumis par Peter M. le ven 14/02/2020 - 07:24

En réponse à par Michaelgeorge

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Hello Michaelgeorge,

The category of determiners is a large one and includes phrases such as a lot of and a great number of as well as single words. I would treat some more as a phrase rather than trying to break it down further.

 

More generally speaking, it's quite possible to use several determiners together. Possessive adjectives and numbers commonly co-occur. In the phrase my four dogs both the possessive adjective my and the number twelve are determiners.

 

The distinctions between determiner and adjective are sometimes debated and the categorisation is somewhat fluid. You can read a discussion on the topic here:

https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/166474/is-a-determiner-considered-an-adjective-or-a-separate-part

 

 

Our focus on LearnEnglish is language learning rather than linguistics, so parsing sentences is not something we tend to provide help with. There are online parsers if you need to break down individual sentences:

https://www.link.cs.cmu.edu/link/submit-sentence-4.html

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi peter, Thanks,Can I refer them( some more) as post determiners because I read somewhere that we can use cardinals and ordinal numbers and quantifiers together and they can occur. What do you say peter

Soumis par Peter M. le sam 15/02/2020 - 07:01

En réponse à par Michaelgeorge

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Hi Michaelgeorge,

Sometimes distinctions are made between predeterminers and postdeterminers, as you say, and you can certainly use them if you find them helpful.

Our focus on the site is really on language learning (learning to use the language) rather than learning about the language (linguistics), so the question really falls outside our area of interest.

If you need help with things like this then the relevant stackexchange forums are a good place to look.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par p t balagopal le ven 24/01/2020 - 07:12

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Hi, Could I add the definite article before "claims" in the following sentence ? " The students' union rejected claims that it may change its position ". I think the definite article should be there as the that-clause following 'claims' makes it necessary. Kindly explain .

Soumis par Peter M. le ven 24/01/2020 - 08:35

En réponse à par p t balagopal

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Hello p t balagopal,

Both forms (with 'the' and without) are possible.

The choice depends upon whether the speaker thinks that the claims are already known to the listener or not. The definite article implies shared knowledge, so if I say 'the claims' then I am suggesting that you (the listener) knows which claims I am talking about. If I say 'claims' then I am assuming that this is the first time you have heard about the subject.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par p t balagopal le dim 17/11/2019 - 11:39

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Sir, Can I use the definite article before ' sum' in the following sentence which I wrote in a letter while forwarding a bank draft to a higher office. " A sum of Rs. 10000 towards the rent of the office ----- building is sent herewith ."

Soumis par Peter M. le lun 18/11/2019 - 07:09

En réponse à par p t balagopal

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Hello p t balagopal,

It's difficult to be certain about article use without knowing the full context, but I think that both 'a' and 'the' would be possible here.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par p t balagopal le lun 11/11/2019 - 16:55

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Hi, I wrote the following sentence while forwarding an application to the higher office. "Please find enclosed the application from Mr. John for the revival of ----- ------- his account no .xxxxx. " If I use the indefinite article before 'application' ,will there be any difference? Could I drop 'the ' before ' revival '? As the word is followed by an of-phrase, is it not mandatory?

Soumis par Peter M. le mar 12/11/2019 - 07:41

En réponse à par p t balagopal

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Hello p t balagopal,

The definite article before 'application' is appropriate here as you are talking about a specific application. An application would suggest that you have many applications from Mr. John for the revival of his account, and this is only one of them, which would be rather absurd.

In the second case, I think 'the' is also required. The account to be revived is specified and so the definite article is appropriate. It is the case that some companies have their own in-house preferences and treat some business functions as if they were abstract nouns in terms of article use, but this is unusual.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par anie1 le dim 10/11/2019 - 16:11

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Hello, I would like to ask which of the following is correct 1.The house has got a lot of windows or 2. The house has got many windows? Thank you in advance

Soumis par beckysyto le sam 02/11/2019 - 12:39

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Hi. I have doubt about using "there is" and "there are" in certain contexts. (1) There is a man and a woman. (2) There are a man and a woman. Which of the above sentences is / are correct? (3) There is a cow and three pigs. (4) There are a cow and three pigs. (5) There are three pigs and a cow. Which of the above sentences is / are correct? Does "there is / are" agree with the first noun phrase in a sentence? Do native speakers follow the same rule? Thanks a lot.