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 ashehadeh le lun 02/03/2015 - 08:54

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Hello Dears, can you please help me to find a way to remember words' spelling ? because I'm going to apply for IELTS soon and spelling mistakes is the most difficult challenge I'm facing now :( thanks dears

Hello ashehadeh,

Different methods work for different people, but in general, there are two essential practices to improve your spelling. First, you should make a list of words that you find difficult to spell and study them regularly (at least every day). Second, you should read regularly. Even if it's only for 10-15 minutes a day, if you are diligent, over time, you should recognise the correct spelling of more words.

You can also surely find games online. We have one game, the Spelloween, but I'm sure you can find others by doing an internet search.

Good luck!

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Omer Gul le jeu 15/01/2015 - 04:50

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Hi british council team, Dear, i have been trying for long time to learn English language, to tell you the truth i am so eager to learn it but it is very difficult or impossible to find good English language learning institute in my country (Afghanistan) especially in country side. I want to learn proper writing like report writing, memo and articles. I do not know from where, i start it? it would be very good if your website assess students to start from where in English language they start it. moreover, how can i systematically improve my grammer. thanks in advance from your cooperation.

Hi Omer Gul,

First of all, I'd suggest that you take some time to explore the site. Use the links at the top of the page to go to different sections and see what kinds of materials are available. Get a feel for the level of difficulty of different sections so you can see what will be most useful to you at the moment.

Second, start with something that is not too high a level. Many users find Elementary Podcasts Series Three a good place to begin, though this obviously depends upon your level and needs. Work through the episodes, and remember that you can use the transcript to help you, or to read and listen at the same time after you have done the exercises.

Third, keep a vocabulary notebook as you work. Organise it by topic ('work', 'family', 'food' etc) and add words and phrases to it as you go through the material. Test yourself regularly to see if you remember the words.

Try to find time to practise English during your regular day. Perhaps you have a friend who is also learning English, with whom you can practise speaking, or perhaps you can practise by yourself, just speaking English when you are alone at home or at work. This kind of practice is great for developing fluency in speaking, so that when you need to use English in the 'real' world you are ready and confident.

How to improve your writing depends upon what kind of writing you want to do, for what purpose you are writing and who the recipient is. Different kinds of writing require different language and different ways of organising the text, so the first thing to do is to take a look at as many different texts as you can. In general, to improve your writing it's important to read and write as much as possible, so keep an eye out for good examples of letters, articles and so on.  Using the internet to read magazines, newspapers and other text-types from online media is a good idea.

If possible, you should get feedback from a teacher or knowledgeable friend on your writing. Unfortunately, we don't have the resources to give users individualised feedback on their writing, but you can still use LearnEnglish to do some work on your own. You can respond to other users in the comment sections to carry on a written conversation, just as I am responding to you now. Good writers learn from reading other writers' texts, so you could learn a lot about writing from reading the content on the site. Our Magazine might be a good place to start if this interests you. You can also of course carry on written conversations there in the comments. On the other hand, if you are interested in academic writing, then our Writing for a Purpose section might be what you are looking for.

Whatever you do, try to spend at least 15 minutes several days per week reading and/or writing. When you have doubts, ask a friend or teacher, or you're also welcome to ask us periodically here by using the comments sections on each page, and we'll be happy to try to answer your questions. Remember also that written texts are usually well organised - unlike a lot of speech, which can often be haphazard and disorganised.  Therefore it's important to write in an organised way: start by collecting your thoughts, then plan how you are going to organise them, then write a first draft. After that, check (or get someone else to check) your draft before writing your final version. Research shows that good writers constantly review their work and amend it, so this is a good model.

I hope those suggestions are helpful.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par mohsinbadwani le dim 11/01/2015 - 17:38

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Hi team British council Tell me the by which I can make my pronunciation best

Hello mohsinbadwani,

If you want to know how to pronounce an individual word, most of our dictionary entries have a button where you can listen to how the word in pronounced. You can also use the audio and video materials here on LearnEnglish to improve your pronunciation and fluency. After doing the exercises, try listening with the transcript (listening and reading). Then say the text yourself, repeating as many times as you need until it feels easier. You can even record yourself to compare your pronunciation with the recording.

Eventually, try saying these words and phrases with (and at the same speed as) the recording. This will help you to develop speed in your speech, which is a key component of fluency.  You'll also pick up a lot of language as chunks - words which are often used together in set phrases - which you can use to communicate with less hesitation.

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par maria soomro le mer 07/01/2015 - 16:14

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Hi there , Could you please explain the difference between these two examples ? 1. We use a/an with a singular noun to say something about all things of that kind: A man needs friends. (= All men need friends) A dog likes to eat meat. (= All dogs like to eat meat) 2. • to say something about all the things referred to by a noun: The wolf is not really a dangerous animal (= Wolves are not really dangerous animals) The kangaroo is found only in Australia (= Kangaroos are found only in Australia) The heart pumps blood around the body. (= Hearts pump blood around bodies) Thank you

Hello maria soomro,

My colleague Peter answered a very similar question several months ago; I refer you to his explanation of this point.

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par iamsam1987 le mer 31/12/2014 - 20:12

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Dear Sir, First of all, a very Happy New Year to you and all the team members of British Council. Thanks a lot to you all for helping English learners. Could you please tell me which one of the followings is correct - 1.Why don’t you buy new pants? The ones which you have are already torn. 2. Why don’t you buy new pants? The one which you have are already torn. Thanks and Regards, Sam

Hello iamsam1987,

The first one is correct. You can often find the answer to questions like this one by searching the internet or looking at example sentences in the dictionary.

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par iamsam1987 le sam 27/12/2014 - 00:27

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Dear Sir, Greeting to you all. Could you please let me know which one of the following clauses is correct ? 1) When it is used as the subject in a sentence 2) When it is used as a subject in the sentence 3) When it is used as a subject in a sentence 4) When it is used as the subject in the sentence

Hello iamsam1987,

All four of these could be correct in an appropriate context.

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par suntsova sveta le ven 19/12/2014 - 16:17

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Hello, We have an argument with another teacher about the article in the following sentence: " I found a passport. ...I found out that it was ___?_____passport of Jane Baker. Could you help me and explain what is better. Thank you.

Hello suntsova sveta,

The most likely answer is 'the'. You could imagine a context in which 'a' would not be incorrect, such as a situation in which Jane Baker has multiple passports for some reason. However, even then 'the' is more likely.

The most natural way to say this, however, would be '...it was Jane Baker's passport'. The '[noun] of [person]' constuction is much less common in such contexts.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par omi20 le ven 21/11/2014 - 09:21

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hey again, team British council 1. take me up the mountain 2. take me up to the mountain 1.why the U.S. can't beat an army the size of a junior college 2.why the U.S. can't beat an army of the size of a junior college I want to know whether all of these sentences are grammatically true P.S. i once read a sentence in an authentic magazine as "she was scared the cat" please elaborate these kinda sentences or any link in here to explain them Are they formal kinda sentences, i mean if its right to write them as a student?:) would be thankful for your guidance :)

Hello omi20,

The first sentence indicates actually going up the mountain, whereas the second could indicate going up only to the base of the mountain - though it could also indicate going to the top.

In the second pair of sentences, the first one sounds more correct. The sentence about the cat is not grammatical - perhaps there was an error in that magazine.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par clover315 le jeu 20/11/2014 - 04:30

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Hi, I have a problem of finding one mistake in this sentence. I think it must be C or D but I don't know how to correct it. Could you help me? Thank you. The Internet disseminates information faster than any other media. a. disseminates b. faster c. any d. media

Hello clover315,

It's not our policy on LearnEnglish to provide answers for questions from tests or homework - this is your own task, after all! However, in this case I can tell you that the sentnece looks perfectly fine to me; I can't see any error in it.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par manasisonu le ven 26/09/2014 - 09:46

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Sir,which sentence is correct? 1) there are so many colleges in that city and they are good. 2) there are so many colleges in that city and those are good.

Hello manasisonu,

The use of 'those' in the second sentence is not natural English. It's hard to say without knowing the context, but I would suspect that the first sentence would be better without 'so' as this would usually be followed by a 'that' clause: 'There are so many... that...'

I hope that answers your question.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par vasilis38 le dim 14/09/2014 - 20:36

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hello, i have a tiny problem and want your help in order to be right 1/In the light of an analysis of the Constitution, ordinary law and European Convention on Human Rights 2/In the light of an analysis of the Constitution, the ordinary law and the European Convention on Human Rights 3/In the light of an analysis of the Constitution, ordinary law and the European Convention on Human Rights which one of the three sentences is the correct?

Hello vasilis38,

It's important to know the context, but in general the third sentence is the best.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Ritesh mehta le lun 11/08/2014 - 20:01

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Kindly work out my below issue : On a number of websites I have read that there are Six classifications of Determiners i.e : 1)Articles 2)Numbers 3)Quantifiers 4)Demonstrative adjectives 5)Possessive adjectives 6)Possessive nouns Now my question is that If NUMBERS come under QUANTIFIERS, Why have NUMBERS been written separately ????????? And ---- Distributive adjectives AND Interrogative adjectives are also DETERMINERS then why they haven't been taken in the classifications. If I say : NUMBERS have been taken separately BUT it comes under QUANTIFIERS. I mean NUMBER is the part of Quantifiers. Okay! Let's suppose Both are Quantifiers........ If someone i.e a beginner of ENGLISH reads, how he will understand either NUMBERS are also the part of Quantifiers I mean there is no any note that NUMBER is also QUANTIFIERS ! But NUMBER is a specific DETERMINERS so it has been take separately. He will be totally confused like me. If he reads the following: 1) Number 2)Quantifiers Then he will think that Both are different things.
Hello Ritesh, I'm afraid I can't comment on how other websites classify language. It's certainly not wise to try to combine different descriptions of English. Best wishes, Adam The LearnEnglish Team
Kindly look at the following statements : If I say : NUMBERS have been taken separately BUT it comes under QUANTIFIERS. I mean NUMBER is the part of Quantifiers. Okay! Let's suppose "Both are Quantifiers........ BUT if someone i.e a beginner of ENGLISH reads, how he will understand either NUMBERS are also the part of Quantifiers I mean there is no any note that NUMBER is also QUANTIFIERS ! but NUMBER is a specific DETERMINERS so it has been taken separately.He will be totally confused like me if he reads in the following ways : 1) Numbers 2)Quantifiers Then he would think that Both are different things.
Hello Ritesh, I'm not quite clear what you are asking about. Are you asking about the way that language is described on LearnEnglish or are you asking about the best way to classify numbers? Or something else? Best wishes, Adam The LearnEnglish Team
As I know that NUMBERS i.e (one,two,three etc) are also Quantifiers. If it is so, why the NUMBERS have been classified/taken separetly Under your Determiners classifications?
Hello Ritesh, Are you talking about something on this page or another page? Which specific sentence or sentences on the site are you asking about? I don't see a description like the one you are describing. Best wishes, Adam The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par razvan-alexandru le jeu 07/08/2014 - 11:41

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Hello! Is it correct to use: I stay home all time of year. and I stay home all time of the year. ? If not, what is the correct variant and why? Thank you!

Soumis par Kirk le ven 08/08/2014 - 07:32

En réponse à par razvan-alexandru

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Hello razvan-alexandru,

'all time of year' and 'all time of the year' are not used in English, and I'm not sure exactly what you want to say. Do you mean that you stay home all twelve months of the year, i.e. that you never leave home? If that's what you want to say, you can say 'all year'.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par echoatas4 le ven 18/07/2014 - 04:52

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Hello, One website says possessive adj is taken either from pronoun (my, your, etc) or noun (John's, Mary's, etc). What do you think about this? If you agree with that, in which group, pronoun or noun, should 'whose' be put? I think I agree with what that website says but I'm not sure where 'whose' belongs to (pronoun or noun).

Soumis par Peter M. le ven 18/07/2014 - 06:36

En réponse à par echoatas4

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Hello echoatas4,

Different linguists use different names for these items - some call them possessive adjectives, some call them possessive determiners, some call them possessive pronouns. The arguments are very intricate and really not part of our sphere here on LearnEnglish; we choose the simplest and most accessible description for our users as our goal is to help learners in as practical a way as possible. Therefore on this site we use the term 'possessive adjectives', and you can find information and an exercise on this page.

If you're interested in the various alternative names and categories for these items, including 'whose' then a useful starting point is the relevant wikipedia page, which you can find here.  You'll notice that the description of 'whose' there is as a 'pronominal possessive determiner', which gives you an idea of how complex linguistic terminology becomes! However, identifying the exact name is not in any way needed for correct use of these items, which is what we focus on here on LearnEnglish.

I hope that answers your question.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Kamran Ibragimov le dim 13/07/2014 - 18:11

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Dear sirs. Please help me to understand. Which of these sentences is right? An immense number of people decides to work after finishing school. or The immense number of people decides to work after finishing school. And the last query, is it right to substitute people for persons? ...number of persons decides to work ...?

Soumis par Peter M. le lun 14/07/2014 - 16:33

En réponse à par Kamran Ibragimov

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Hello Kamran Ibragimov,

It's hard to answer this without knowing the context, but the most likely answer is that neither is correct.  I would guess, without knowing the context, that the correct form would be 'an immense number decide to work...'  This is because 'a number of...' is followed by a plural verb.  Although it would take a fairly specific context to use 'the' in this context, there is a rule about which articles to use with 'number of' (without adjectives).  I described this rule in an answer to a question from another user:

Quantifiers such as 'a number of' and 'a group of' take a plural verb as they describe many individuals.  Interestingly, when we change the article to a definite article ('the number of' and 'the group of') we use a singular verb.  This is generally explained in terms of how we see the group: as a collection of individuals (indefinite article and plural verb) or as an already-defined unit (definite artlcle and singular verb). Therefore we say:

A number of students are going to the cinema today. The number of students is quite small, however.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par rajesh ghosh le mar 01/07/2014 - 21:56

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hello teacher, i have often faced a difficulty in recognizing the distinction between 'effect' and 'Affect', albeit , i know that one's a noun and the other a verb.

Hello rajesh,

affect describes an action that produces an effect or result. Some of my students have found it helpful to think of alphabetical order: the letter a (in affect) comes before the letter e (effect), just as one must first affect (verb) something in order for an effect (noun) to be produced.

Hope this helps!

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par speak2me le mer 18/06/2014 - 09:35

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Dear English Teacher, Since I am a Slav, the proper usage of the/a remains a "riddle wrapped up in an enigma" to me. A "golden rule" says that we use no/zero article with general notions like "mice fear cats", right? Can one then omit the definite article in superlative adjective forms? See this example from a scientific discussion: "According to Smith (2011), best reproduction performance (largest litters and highest weaning rates) is achieved by females whose period between the first and the last copulation was shortest." What do you think? Thanks for help :) Piotr

Hello Piotr,

Yes, you're right about "mice fear cats", and you're also correct in thinking that it's unusual to leave out the definite article "the" before a superlative form. When "best" is used to mean "optimal", however, especially to report general findings in academic or scientific writing, the definite article is usually left out.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par muntaziri le lun 16/06/2014 - 10:58

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can we use "which is too far from me" and why we are using which there?

Hello muntaziri,

I answered this same question from you a day ago on this page.  Please do not post the same question multiple times.  If the answer was not clear or you have further questions then please reply to that answer and we'll be happy to try to help.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par thendral sivamani le mar 13/05/2014 - 07:12

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dear teacher, what is general and specific determiner mean?

Hello 

Determiners are a category of words, like 'verbs' or 'nouns', which have a certain role in the language.  We use determiners with nouns.  In general, we use specific determiners when we believe the listener/reader knows exactly what we are referring to, and general determiners when it is not clear exactly what we are referring to, as the examples and explanation above show.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par arenate le mar 06/05/2014 - 22:08

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hi teacher .... may you tell me about the word (((is ) what do we call it ...is it a determiner or what???? thank you

Hi alohamoh,

'So' can be an adverb and it can be a conjunction but, by itself, it is not a quantifier.  It can be used with some quantifiers, however, mainly 'so much', 'so many', 'so few' and 'so little'.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par sdgnour2014 le dim 27/04/2014 - 13:57

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Hello teacher, So, we can say: 1- Do you have any other questions? 2- Do you have any question? 3- Do you have others questions? 4- Do you need any help? 5- Do you need any other help? 6- Do you need other help? Am I right?

Hi sdgnour2014,

Sentences 1, 4, and 5 are all correct. Sentence 2 is not correct because, as the explanation above says, "We use the general determiner any with a singular noun or an uncount noun". Sentence 3 is not correct, because others is a pronoun, whereas here a determiner is needed (it should be other). Sentence 6 could be correct in a situation in which it is clear what "other help" means - otherwise normally you should say "any other help" here.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par sdgnour2014 le sam 05/04/2014 - 17:34

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Hello teacher, I understand how to use the specific determiners: (Thank you very much for your letter) And how to use the general determiners. If you need any help , please contact me on the following numbers.( you said we use the determiner (any) with singular noun) But, if I say: If you need any other helps, please contact me ....... Is it (any) and (other) both of them are determiners? So, if you we can mix two determiners can you give me another example please?