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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Hi sdgnour2014,

help is an uncount noun, so grammatically it is singular rather than plural. Therefore "any helps" is not used in standard English.

Yes, any and other are both determiners and an example of two determiners used together is "do you have any other questions?".

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par dencasi le sam 15/03/2014 - 15:28

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Hi! Sir, You said that DETERMINERS is to show which THING is being referred to. So, THING = NOUN meaning not adj., adv., etc.? Is that correct? And may I know what are the differences of DETERMINERS and MODIFIER in a comprehensive way. Thanks :)

Soumis par dencasi le sam 15/03/2014 - 15:13

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Hi! Sir. The types of Determiners : 1. Articles – a, an, the 2. Demonstrative – this that/these those 3. Specifier – such 4. Quantifiers – any, each, every, either, neither 5. Negative – no, not any, not a single 6. Possessives – my, your, his, her, our, their Are those true, I listed above. Is it? If so, why quantifiers are also part of determiner. What are the relevance? And do you have an explanation regarding with BASIC SENTENCE STRUCTURE? Thanks I hope you can help me. :)

Hi dencasi,

Our grammar pages are focused on helping users to learn to use English grammar for practical reasons, and I'd rather not get into exhaustive analyses that are more appropriate for students of linguistics here. For that kind of information, I'd suggest you check the wikipedia (e.g. their page on determiners, which has a list of types of determiners) or do an internet search for "sentence parsing" or something like that.

As for your other questions, yes, determiners always go with noun phrases. The only exception to this that I can think of is when there is ellipsis. We have a few pages on sentence structure starting on our Clause, phrase and sentence page.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par sdgnour2014 le jeu 13/03/2014 - 11:32

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Hello Peter, Is education and health is uncountable noun? Can I say, My health is good. My education is good and talk about specific thing?

Hello sdgnour2014,

Yes, both education and health are uncount nouns. "My health is good" is fine, and "My education is good" (or "I have a good education") are grammatically correct.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par sdgnour2014 le mar 11/03/2014 - 12:01

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Hello Peter, Can you tell me please? Sdg is a man . He is THE husband.Mona is a woman.She is THE wife. Ahmed is a boy. He is THE son.Nawal is a girl. She is the daughter........ and so on,.................etc. My question: Is the use of article THE is right OR wrong?and Why.

Hello sdgnour2014,

The definite article 'the' is used when both the speaker and the listener know exactly which item or person is being referred to.  In your example, we would use 'the' in this way if we already know that there is a husband, a wife, one son and one daughter.  If, for example, the family had several sons and daughters then we would say 'he is a son' or 'he is one of the sons'.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hi Peter, I want to tell you that I want to identify my family to someone and that one doesn't know anything about my family at all. I say Ahmed is the father, Nawal is the mother. Ali is the son. Mona is the daughter. Is that right , please to use (the)?

Hi sdgnour2014,

You would not use an article at all in this case but rather a possessive form: this is my father, this is my mother etc.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par eppel_eve le lun 10/03/2014 - 01:40

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Hi, could you please explain which one is correct from the sentences below, or if there's any different context in each: 1. Is there any egg in the fridge? 2. Is there any eggs in the fridge? 3. Is there an egg in the fridge? 4. Are there any egg in the fridge? 5. Are there any eggs in the fridge? Thanks...

Hi eppel_eve,

Sentences 1, 3 and 5 are possible sentences.

Sentence 1 means the egg is not in its egg form any more but is, for example, chopped up, scrambled or beaten already, and is therefore uncountable.

Sentence 3 asks about 1 egg.

Sentence 5 asks about a number of eggs.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par lpsim le sam 08/03/2014 - 15:17

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Hi, need some help. I saw certain word we need to add "s" behind the word. How to know when to add a "s" behind the word.

Hi Ipsim,

There are many reasons we might add an 's' after a word - to make a plural noun, to make a third-person form of a present simple verb or to make a possessive (with an apostrophe), for example.  Please provide us with an example that you have seen and we'll explain it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par zagrus le ven 07/03/2014 - 07:49

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Hello, Why don't we use the plural form after the determiner "either" like in the following example: "Unfortunately I was sitting at the table with smokers on either side of me." Thanks in advance

Soumis par Kirk le ven 07/03/2014 - 08:41

En réponse à par zagrus

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Hi zagrus,

The quantifier either refers to more than one thing, but refers to them individually. That's why it is only followed by singular nouns. There is a list of the different kinds of quantifiers on our quantifiers page - look under Singular quantifiers for other similar ones.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par nidhinthomas le ven 28/02/2014 - 07:19

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Hi Peter, This is really great information for me. Many thanks for your clarification. In the sentence 'The other one is good' / 'The other way is right' Here 'The other' referred as singular. so here can we substitute 'The other' with 'another' ? if we can the below sentences are correct. 'another one is good' / 'another way is right' What I understood is right ? Thanks & Regards, Nidhin Thomas

Soumis par Kirk le ven 28/02/2014 - 14:17

En réponse à par nidhinthomas

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Hello Nidhin Thomas,

Yes, those two sentences are correct. I just want to point out, however, that they have slightly different meanings - another one is different from the other one in the same way that a is indefinite in reference and the is definite in reference.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par nidhinthomas le jeu 27/02/2014 - 14:25

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Hi Team, I need some clarification on the above topic. Here we have seen that 'another' is singular and 'other' is plural. please have a look into the below usages. The other one is right \ The other way is good. are these sentences correct? Here we have used 'other' with singular object (one, way). Please advice on this..

Soumis par Peter M. le jeu 27/02/2014 - 21:42

En réponse à par nidhinthomas

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Hello nidhinthomas,

'Another' is really 'other' with the indefinite article 'an', but over time it has become one word.  'The other' is 'other' with the definite article 'the', written as two words.  So you can see that both 'another' and 'the other' are perfectly consistent with the rules of article use: 'a'/'an' can only be used with singular nouns, while 'the' can be used with singular and plural nouns.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par eunsun143 le mar 11/02/2014 - 06:09

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Hello, teachers, I have some question about the two sentences below. 1) Who wants to present their dialog?' and 2) Who wants to present your dialog?' A teacher wants any student to present their dialog. In this situation, how can the teacher say to the class? Please explain which one is correct. Best regards, Eunsun

Hello Eunsun,

The correct form is 'Who wants to present their dialogue?'

When we start a question with 'who', we are speaking impersonally - in other words, we are not identifying anyone in particular and so we use 'they' (in the appropriate form) as the pronoun.  This is true even if the 'group' is only two people.  The same applies if we use 'which people' instead of 'who' as the question word.

However, if we use 'which of you' as the question word then we can use either 'they' or 'you' as the pronoun:

'Which of you wants to present their dialogue?'

'Which of you wants to present your dialogue?'

I hope that answers your question.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Mariki le ven 31/01/2014 - 14:53

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It was good exercise

I didn't know before

The plural  form of another is other.

Have learnt new thing today

thank you British council

Soumis par adithyareddy le sam 11/01/2014 - 08:32

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Thanks for the exercise ! it was good and helpfull to undestand

 

Soumis par crosshatched le dim 15/12/2013 - 05:30

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Hi English sifus,

I am having some troubles deciding when to use definite articles and when not to use any on countable nouns.

For example, I am confused with this one particular sentence in John Grisham's A Time To Kill:

"The facade was a huge, centered gable with hipped roof over a wide, inset front porch. Under the gable a small portico covered with bargeboard hung gently over the porch. The five supporting pillars were round and painted white and slate blue. Each column bore..."

Why didn't he use "... covered with a bargeboard..." here?

Many thanks in advance!

CH

Hi crosshatched,

Great observation! "a bargeboard" would be grammatically correct here, but it's not unusual to use some singular count nouns as uncount nouns to express an amount or what something is made of. Another couple examples of this are: "We don't have enough bricks to build 10m of wall" or "The castle's roof is made of slate tile".

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Livon4090 le ven 06/12/2013 - 18:28

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Dear Teachers,

I am confused why was not' any determiner ' placed before peanut butter in the following sentence.

I gave my dog Oreo a scoop of peanut butter.( why not - of the peanut butter)

Kindly please clarify it . 

With kind regards,

Livon

 

In addition to the above , I would also like to know why we sometimes do not use determiners in preposition phrases. 

Kindly please clarify with some examples.

With kind regards,

Livon

Hello again Livon,

That's a very general question which really requires a very long grammatical explanation - something you can better get from your teacher!  Do you have any specific sentences or examples in mind?  We'll be happy to comment on those if so.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Pete,

Thank you very much for your response. 

If I had an erudite English teacher around , I would not have asked you that question of preposition. 

Kindly if you could provide a short and concise answer to my query, I would be very grateful to you.    

Would you please try to contract the answer to just give me some idea if possible.

Regards,

Livon

 

 

Hello Livon,

I'm afraid I can't provide a concise answer as the question is too general.  A prepositional phrase is a preposition + noun phrase (object); there are hundreds of such phrases and no general rule as to when there is a definite article and when there is not.  The use of the definite article in such phrases is governed by the same rules as the use of definite articles in any other phrases, so your question is effectively asking for an explanation of why we sometimes use the definite article and sometimes do not.  We'll be happy to provide an explanation of a specific question, but we haven't got the space here, or the time as we deal with a very large number of questions and comments every day, to provide explanations of such wide-ranging aspects of the grammar system.  For that, we have pages devoted to each topic - such as this page on the definite article.

As I said, if you have a specific example you'd like us to comment on then we'll be only too happy to do so and to provide the best explanation we can, including whatever rules may be relevant.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I appreciate your response Pete.

Keep up the good work.

Regards,

Livon

Hi Pete,

These following sentences may be examples of preposition phrases which I am confused about:

  1. They drove to Glasgow. 
  2. The lion was killed by the hunter.
  3. I saw a wonderful painting by Van Gaugh.

Now preposition phrases are changed of the above sentences which are written as follows:

  1. They drove to the/a Glasgow . ( addition of 'the')
  2. The lion was killed by a hunter.( replace 'a' with 'the')
  3. I saw a wonderful painting by the/a Van Gaugh. ( addition of 'a/the)

Now four queries about the unchanged version:

Why did not the writer use 'the' or 'a' in the first sentence?

Why did not the writer use 'a' instead of 'the'?

Why did not the writer use 'the ' or 'a' in the third sentence?

Are all the changed sentences are correct?

All these sentences are written in the preposition phrase section. Would you please clarify my doubts regarding the above questions.

I would be very grateful to you.

Regards,

Livon

  

 

Soumis par Kirk le lun 09/12/2013 - 13:24

En réponse à par Livon4090

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Hi Livon,

To answer your first question, the names of cities are not generally preceded by a determiner in English. There is at least one exception to this (e.g. The Hague), but this rule is true for the vast majority of cities. As for your second question, "a" is just as possible as "the". Why "a" is correct in some contexts and "the" is correct in others is explained above - it depends on whether the speaker thinks the listener knows which hunter is being referred to or not. As for your third question, determiners are not used before people's names in English. There is probably some exception to this, but as with the names of cities, this rule applies for the vast majority of names.

My explanations up to this point should answer your final question, but just in case it's not clear: sentences 1 and 3 are incorrect and sentence 2 is correct.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Livon,

Both sentences are grammatically possible; which is correct depends on the context.

'... of peanut butter' - we would say this when we are talking about peanut butter as a foodstuff - in a general sense rather than any specific example.  It is a similar use to 'I like peanut butter'.

'... of the peanut butter' - we would say this when we are talking about some specific peanut butter which we had already mentioned or referenced, such as some that had just been bought, or some that we had discovered was out of date.  It is a similar use to 'I liked the peanut butter that we ate last week'.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par devi shana le ven 29/11/2013 - 04:54

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Hello!! 

I like this website to learn English .. I have listen  series 1 Episode 1 carefully. I couldn't fine Answer sheet ...I want see my test...

Soumis par Peter M. le ven 29/11/2013 - 14:35

En réponse à par devi shana

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Hello devi shana,

I think you've posted this comment on the wrong page!  Please post it again on the correct page (perhaps you were listening to Elementary Podcasts?) and we'll try to help you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par alistairw (non vérifié) le mar 05/11/2013 - 14:11

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I know that the difference between another and other is singular/plural, so how can we explain this example: We stayed for 2 weeks and then for another 3 days. 3 is clearly plural but we'd never say "for other 3 days". So why ?

Hello alistairw,

Thank you for an interesting question.  It's true that 'another' is usually used before singular nouns but it is also used - and this is not a new use by any means - with plural nouns provided they are preceded by a number.  For example:

'We stayed for another three days.'  - correct

[alternative: 'three more days']

'We stayed for another days.'  - incorrect

The quantifier 'few' is quite common in place of the number:

'We stayed for another few days.'  - correct

[alternative: 'a few more days']

As to why this is the case, I have seen various explanations, usually along the lines of claiming that the speaker is thinking of a fixed or separate unit of time. However, this use of 'another' can be used in other contexts too, not connected to time.  For example:

'I'll have another two or three biscuits, if you don't mind.'

Therefore I would not want to identify any specific rule to cover this use, but would rather describe it in practical terms, as above.

I hope that answers your question.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par kira300 le ven 01/11/2013 - 09:36

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thank you for your website, I am beginner and I need like these

Soumis par zezo304 le dim 13/10/2013 - 19:28

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I want to speak English fluently, Can you give me some advice please?
Hello zezo304, The most important thing you can do is to practise. Do you have someone with whom you can practise where you live? Perhaps you can practise with someone else who is learning English, for example. For developing fluency it isn't really important if your practice partner is not perfect in English because just using the language regularly will help you to speak more quickly and confidently and to hesitate less. Another good approach, which you can use even without a partner, is to use the listening materials here on LearnEnglish as models and guides. After doing the various exercises and tasks, practise speaking using the transcript. Try it by yourself, then try repeating after the recording and then try saying it along with the recording so you are forced to speak at natural speed. It may be difficult at first, but it is a very good way of developing fluidity, which is the ability to produce the sounds of English quickly, and which is one of the key elements of fluency. I hope that gives you some ideas which you can try. Please also remember not to worry too much about accuracy when speaking. Of course, we do not want to make a lot of mistakes but some mistakes are inevitable when we are trying to speak fluently, and worrying about them too much can cause hesitation and end up making us less fluent and even harder to understand for the listener. Best wishes, Peter The LearnEnglish Team