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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anie1 提交于 周五, 04/10/2019 - 13:53

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Hello, I would like to ask which of the following is correct 1. I will call you tomorrow at 10?OR 2. I will call you tomorrow at 10 am? Thank you in advance

Hello agie

Both are grammatically correct. If it's clear that you're talking about the morning, then 1 is probably sufficiently clear.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Vitub 提交于 周五, 16/08/2019 - 04:04

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Hello, I'd like to ask you about that, is that really a comma can be omitted in these case which are showed below? "When Kim's passenger Andy finds something . . ." IS NEEDED a COMMA after PASSENGER i.e. it should be looked like "When Kim's passenger, Andy finds something . . ." 2 "Mark Miles and his son Andy are . . ." I think it is correct according the source above Please check it thank you

Hello Vitub

I'm afraid I don't know enough about either sentence to be able to know what they mean, so I can't really explain them or offer any other recommendations about them. If you include the full sentence, we might be able to help you more, but please note that in general we don't explain sentences that come from other texts unless you have a very specific question about them.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

A comma shouldn't be used after passenger because "Andy" is specifying who the passenger is; it's a subordinating clause.
NB Apologies, I misread the sentence of your first example, "When Kim's passenger Andy finds something" Andy needs to be enclosed in commas because it's a parenthesis in apposition (identifies or gives more information about the noun that preceds it). Correct punctuation - "When Kim's passenger, Andy," Your second example, "Mark Miles and his son Andy are" doesn't need amended - a comma isn't required because "and" is acting as a coordinating conjunction connecting two nouns (Mark and Andy).

Sooraj 提交于 周四, 18/07/2019 - 08:09

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Hi, Please advise which is the most appropriate usage & explain the reason. 1. It is my pleasure to inviting you all for today's dinner. 2. it is my pleasure of inviting you all for today's dinner.

Hello Sooraj

The form I would recommend here is 'to invite all of you'; the other two options are not correct in standard British English.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

The two examples you gave both have the wrong grammatical aspect; they are written in present progressive of the verb 'to invite' (with the added error "to" & "of" preceding it.) "It's a pleasure to invite you all for today's dinner." - This is the present simple aspect

tshantanu0 提交于 周二, 18/06/2019 - 16:53

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e.g. - she is the same girl who sang beautifully at the concert yesterday. OR she is the same girl that sang beautifully at the concert yesterday. which one is correct? I've heard after all, same, everyone,etc. "that" is used.

Hello tshantanu0,

The structure here is a defining relative clause and you can use either 'who' or 'that' as the relative pronoun here - it makes no difference. I'm not aware of any rule which says 'that' needs to be used after those words.

You can read more about relative clauses on these pages:

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar-reference/relative-pronouns-and-relative-clauses

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/intermediate-grammar/relative-clauses-defining-relative-clauses

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/intermediate-grammar/relative-clauses-non-defining-relative-clauses

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Ataur Rahman 提交于 周日, 31/03/2019 - 06:12

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Can the Partitive Nouns or Group Nouns followed by 'of' be used as Determiners?
Hello Atuar Rahman, I think it will be easier to answer your question if you provide concrete examples of what you have in mind. Please provide some and we'll be happy to answer. Peter The LearnEnglish Team

cbenglish 提交于 周五, 22/03/2019 - 00:31

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Dear sirs, This is the first sentence of a paragraph on writing tips: "It’s important to keep one person per dialogue so you do not confuse the reader." Why does this sentence use "the reader?" Could I say readers or the readers in the place of the reader? How does the meaning of the sentence change? I struggle to identify whether "the reader" is a definite or indefinite noun. On the one hand, it appears a definite noun since the reader means your reader; in this case, isn't a plural form ("the readers") more appropriate? On the other hand, it appears as readers in general. In this case, should not we use simply readers, not "the reader" as the sentence does. Many thanks.
Hello cbenglish, The definite article is used here because the speaker is referring to a particular, if imagined, reader: > the reader who is reading your text ...the reader (a person who is reading your text) > ...the readers (a group of people who are reading your text) > ...readers (any people who may read your text) Peter The LearnEnglish Team

Abhimanyu Hannah 提交于 周一, 11/03/2019 - 11:38

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Hi Team, I wanted to know if there are any reasons/logic behind commission and omission of article 'The'. Could you also help me understand the difference between - On call and In call; Logged in and logged on. Thanks,

Hello Abhimanyu Hannah

Yes, there's quite a lot behind the use or omission of articles, but I'm afraid it's not something that can be explained in a few short sentences. I'd recommend you work through the pages in this section, as well as read through our Articles 1 and 2 pages. If you have a specific question after that, please feel to ask it here.

Most people don't differentiate between 'log in' and 'log on', though there is a difference. You can read about it in the Difference.wiki or by doing an internet search for 'difference between login and logon'.

When someone is 'on call', they are available to work, but you must call them to ask them to work. This is typical for doctors and IT technicians, among others. I'm not familiar with 'in call', though you can be 'in a call', i.e. you are on the phone at that time and are not available to speak to someone else.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Inqilab 提交于 周五, 08/03/2019 - 23:47

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Is the Class going to be held,,,? Why Hold can't be used here while we are using present continuous tense

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]

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

cbenglish 提交于 周五, 01/02/2019 - 03:56

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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.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

dipakrgandhi 提交于 周一, 21/01/2019 - 06:05

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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

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

cbenglish 提交于 周五, 04/01/2019 - 05:25

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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. Thanks.

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.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

anie1 提交于 周二, 01/01/2019 - 17:02

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Hello, 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

dipakrgandhi 提交于 周二, 25/12/2018 - 07:50

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" 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,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

cbenglish 提交于 周日, 23/12/2018 - 13:48

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Dear sirs, I wrote the following sentence: "when love marriage takes place across caste groups in India, the intermarrying couple faces a complicated problem." But I am confused about using an article before the noun "love marriage." I have used love marriage without an article thinking that it is not a concrete marriage event (or it's an abstract noun). But I also feel like I have to use a or the or the plural form (love marriages). I really appreciate your comment on my reasoning.

Hello cbenglish,

The term love marriage is used in the same way as marriage in terms of the use of articles. For general use all articles are possible, but there are slight differences in meaning.


a + singular countable noun

we can use this with general meaning when we are talking about something which defines the group.

For example:

An elephant is an impressive sight.

In other words, being an impressive sight is one of the characteristics of an elephant; if we saw an animal and it was not impressive then we could be fairly sure that it was not an elephant.  We are talking about any elephant here - it is true of them all.

 

the + singular noun

we can use this with general meaning when we are talking about our image or concept of the noun.

For example:

The elephant can live for over sixty years.

Here we are not talking about a real elephant, but rather the concept of 'elephant' in our heads.

 

no article + plural countable noun or uncountable noun

we use this to talk about what is normal or typical of a type.  It may or may not be true of all individuals but it is typical of most.

For example:

Swedish people are tall.

Here we are talking about the average height of Swedes, not any particular person or concept.

 

The distinctions are subtle but sometimes can be important.

For example, we can say with general meaning:

Whales are in danger of becoming extinct.

The whale is in danger of becoming extinct.

 

However, we cannot say:

A whale is in danger of becoming extinct.

This is because being in danger of becoming extinct may be true but it does not define the whale.

 

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Very helpful explaination sir. Now, can we also say - without article- ' Elephant is an impressive sight. ' This is because what I understand is that when the case is general - we can opt for zero article. Abou your 'Whale's' example - can we also say ' The whales are in danger of becoming extinct ' - plural with definite article. Abou not using 'a' in ' Whale's ' example - this is for the first time I am learning that using 'a' would cause to define the noun . If you could enlighten me on this concept. Also, how would the meanings in ' Love marriage' example change with different articles with singular and plural cases? I am eager to know all these because I have never come across such a detailed explaination about changes in meanings with changes in articles . Thanking you

Hello dipakrgandhi,

In my explanation I said we can use no article + plural countable noun or uncountable noun. 'Elephant' is a countable noun, so we need to say

Elephants are an impressive sight.

 

'The whales' would refer to a particular group of whales, not whales in general. For example, you might talk about 'the whales of the Atlantic Ocean' or similar.

 

When we say

A whale is an impressive sight

we are talking about a characteristic that is typical or representative of whales: being impressive is one of the things that goes with being a whale.

 

The reason we can't say

A whale might become extinct

is because being extinct is not something that happens to a whale, and not something which defines what a whale is.

 

The changes in 'love marriage' would be the same as the examples I gave. The choice of noun does not affect this.

 

Peter

The LeanEnglish Team

Sheikh Salauddin 提交于 周一, 10/12/2018 - 06:49

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Are words like "John's","Rahim's" determiners? Another one,Sir. Is the sentence"If I were a king!" correct? Thank you.

Hi Sheikh Salauddin,

Sometimes phrases like 'John's' are considered possessive forms of nouns and sometimes they are classed as a kind of possessive determiner. Since our grammar is a learner's grammar, we don't get into that kind of issue, but I expect you could find some discussion of it in the English Language and Usage StackExchange if you're interested.

'If I were a king!' is technically an incomplete sentence, but would probably be fine in most cases if the result clause were clear from the situation or context.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

cbenglish 提交于 周日, 09/12/2018 - 13:12

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Dear sirs, I wrote the following sentence in an essay, which is the very first sentence: "When we wake up in the morning and listen to the news or read the newspaper, we see the same old old stories." On re-reading the sentence, I am confused about my use of definite articles in front of news and newspaper. Is it also correct to say? "When we wake up in the morning and listen to news or read newspapers, we see the same old old stories." My thinking is that since it's the very first sentence, I should not use definite articles before news and newspaper. Is my reasoning correct? I really appreciate your guidance on the issue. Thank you very much, as always.

Hi cbenglish,

When we speak about what is explained in radio, television, newspaper or new website reports, we also refer to this as 'the news' (with the definite article 'the' always used). So when you speak about 'listening to the news', it's correct to say 'the news' (and just 'news' is not correct).

You could say just 'read newspapers' instead of 'read the newspapers'. If you say 'the newspapers', there is some suggestion that the reader knows which newspapers you're talking about, but not necessarily. If it were my essay, I would most likely say 'the newspapers', as we often use 'the' here even when it's not completely clear which newspapers we're talking about.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Risa warysha 提交于 周六, 10/11/2018 - 09:30

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Hi Sir. Could u tell me the difference between determiner and quantifier? What are pre-, central, and post determiners? Thank you,

Hello Risa warysha,

A quantifier is a type of determiner. The relevant wikipedia page (here) contains a list of the most common kinds of determiners.

 

Pre-, post- and central describe the positions of different determiners.

Pre-determiners come first, central determiners come next and postdeterminers come last.

Example: all the thirty women 

Here, 'all' is a pre-determiner, 'the' is a central determiner and 'thirty' is a postdeterminer.

 

 

There is some debate as to whether this terminology is helpful. Postdeterminers often have adjectival characteristics, for example, which other determiners do not, and are not only identified by their position.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

 

Mohd Zaffar 提交于 周四, 11/10/2018 - 07:28

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which of the following sentence is correct? 1) He worked as an insurance agent before he went to the US. OR 2) He had worked as an insurance agent before he went to the US.

Hello Mohd Zaffar,

Both forms are possible here. Without a wider context there is nothing to show which would be preferable.

Generally, we use past simple for sequences of actions (first... later...). We use past perfect when an earlier action has some relevance to or influence on a later action.

You can read more about the past perfect on these pages:

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/intermediate-grammar/past-perfect

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/past-perfect

 

Please note that we are on a page on the topic of articles and determiners, not the past perfect. We ask users to post questions on relevant pages as it helps to keep the comments sections useful for other users who may have similar questions.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Mohd Zaffar 提交于 周一, 08/10/2018 - 09:53

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hello sir which of the following sentence is correct? 1) We have never had any dispute with them. or 2) We never had any dispute with them.

Hello Mohd Zaffar,

Both sentences are grammatically correct. Which one you need will depend upon the context and what you are trying to say.

The first sentence describes an ongoing situation. It tells us that you still know 'them' and up to the present time have not had any disputes.

The second sentence describes finished time. It tells us that when you knew 'them' there were no disputes, but we understand that you no longer know them for some reason, so there cannot now be any disputes. You might use this sentence if the situation has changed:

They used to live in our time and we never had any disputes with them. They moved away last year.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Mohd Zaffar 提交于 周五, 05/10/2018 - 04:30

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Hello sir Which of the following sentence is correct? 1) The man asked his son to go Agra by bike. Or 2) The man asked his son go Agra by bike 1) I suggest you (put) put on sun block immediately before you get a sun burn. why not sentence is like:-- 1) I suggest you (put) to put on sunblock immediately before you get a sun burn. similarly other sentences like ->The environmentalist leader felt it was extremely important that the people of the city be allowed to voice their concerns over the new hotel being built on the bay. Why ‘to be allowed’ is not used Sir I read subjunctive topic in English grammar. i understood the use of bare infinitive verbs but have problem in using 'to' in such types of sentences. Sometimes use of 'to' is corrected and sometimes not please explain with examples in this regard Thanking You

Hello Mohd Zaffar,

That's a lot of questions! I'll answer a few and then if you have any others, please ask us again, though please limit yourself to one or two per comment.

The first sentence is correct, though the preposition 'to' is needed before 'Agra'.

As for your questions about verbs like 'suggest' and 'feel' and the patterns that follow them, this really depends on the specific verb being used. In other words, each verb is followed by different patterns. You can find information about these patterns in a good dictionary -- for example, see this page on the verb 'suggest'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Mohd Zaffar 提交于 周四, 04/10/2018 - 06:35

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Hello sir Which of the following sentence is correct? 1) The man asked his son to go Agra by bike. Or 2) The man asked his son go Agra by bike.

Hello Mohd Zaffar,

You need to use 'to' here so the first sentence is correct and the second one is incorrect.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

thank you sir but what about following sentences like 1) I suggest you (put) put on sun block immediately before you get a sun burn. why not sentence is like:-- 1) I suggest you (put) to put on sunblock immediately before you get a sun burn. similarly other sentences like ->The environmentalist leader felt it was extremely important that the people of the city be allowed to voice their concerns over the new hotel being built on the bay. Why ‘to be allowed’ is not used Sir I read subjunctive topic in English grammar. i understood the use of bare infinitive verbs but have problem in using 'to' in such types of sentences. Sometimes use of 'to' is corrected and sometimes not please explain with examples in this regard Thanking You