in

Determiners in English with Types & Examples

Determiners in English
Determiners in English

Determiners are essential parts of English grammar, used to introduce and identify nouns in sentences. These words come in many forms and serve different functions depending on the sentence’s context. In this article, we’ll explore the various types of determiners and provide examples to help you understand their roles in language. So let’s get started!

Table of Contents

What is a Determiner?

A determiner is a word that comes before a noun and provides more information about it. The primary function of determiners is to provide information about the number, specificity, and relationship between the speaker and the noun. Determiners help us understand whether we are talking about something specific or general, singular or plural and whether the noun is near or far in terms of distance or time.

For instance;

I watch the movie.

I saw a bird.

Here “I watch the movie” assumes that the listener knows which specific movie is being discussed, whereas “I saw a bird” indicates that the speaker saw a bird, not a specific one.

Determiners answer the questions like “Which one?” or “How many\many?” to give us a clearer picture of what the noun is referring to. They are necessary when the noun is singular, but optional when it is plural or uncountable. Some determiners, such as (many, few, and some,) are only used before countable nouns, while others, such as (much, little,) are only used before uncountable nouns, and yet others, such as (most, a lot of,) are used before both types of nouns.

In some cases, a noun might function without any determiner at all. When a noun is not preceded by a determiner, this situation is known as a zero determiner. We cannot use more than one major determiner with the same noun. Some determiners serve as either pre-determiners (which come before a main determiner such as all, both, or half, etc.) or post-determiners (which come after a main determiner such as many, much, few, or next, etc.).

Types of Determiners

Determiners are divided into different types according to their meaning and usage. For example;

Articles (a, an, the):

There are two types of articles; definite and indefinite

Definite articles, such as ‘the,’ indicate a specific noun that has been mentioned before or is well-known to the speaker and listener. On the other hand, indefinite articles, such as ‘a‘ or ‘an,’ indicate a noun that is unspecific or Learn more

    • A” is used before a singular countable noun that is unspecified: “I saw a dog.”
    • “An” is used before a singular countable noun that starts with a vowel sound: “She ate an apple.”
    • “The” is used before a specific noun, either singular or plural: “The cat is sleeping.”

Demonstratives (this, that, these, those):

Demonstrative determiners indicate location and proximity to the speaker or listener. 

    1. “This” refers to something nearby in singular: “This book is interesting.”
    2. “That” refers to something farther away in singular: “That car is fast.”
    3. “These” refers to nearby plural things: “These cookies are delicious.”
    4. “Those” refers to farther away plural things: “Those birds are singing.”

 Possessives (my, your, his, her, its, our, their):

Possessive determiners indicate that the noun belongs to the speaker or another person.

    • Show ownership or possession: “My dog is friendly.”
    • Indicate belonging: “Is this your pen?”

Quantifiers (some, any, many, few, several, all, none, much, little):

Quantifiers indicate the quantity or amount of the noun.

    • Provide information about the quantity of the noun: “She has some chocolates.”
    • Express a general amount: “Many people attended the party.”

Numbers (one, two, three, first, second, third):

Show exact or approximate numerical values.

    • Cardinal Numbers: Like “one,” “two,” “three,” etc. “I have three apples.”
    • Ordinal Numbers: (show order)  Like “first,” “second,” “third,” etc. “He came in first.”

Interrogatives (which, what, whose):

Used in questions.

    • Used to ask questions: “Which movie do you want to watch?”
    • Inquire about possession: “Whose bike is this?”

Exclamative (what a, such):

Used in exclamatory sentences.

    • Used to express strong feelings or emotions: “What a beautiful sunset!”
    • Express a high degree of quality or extent: “She is such a talented musician.”

Distributives (each, every):

Refer to members of a group individually.

    • Refer to individual items as separate entities: “Each student has a book.”
    • Refer to all members of a group: “Every child should be heard.” Learn more… 
Types of Determiners
Types of Determiners

Examples of Determiners

Here are some example sentences of Determiners;

  • I saw a cat in the garden.
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
  • This book is really interesting.
  • Can you hand me that pen?
  • I want to buy these shoes.
  • Those flowers are beautiful.
  • This is my car.
  • Your phone is ringing.
  • I can’t find my keys anywhere.
  • His dog is very friendly.
  • Her phone is ringing.
  • Its color is bright orange.
  • Our picnic was a lot of fun.
  • Their house is painted blue.
  • Can I have some water?
  • Do you have any questions?
  • There are many birds in the sky.
  • Most people enjoy traveling
  • There are a few apples left in the basket.
  • Several students attended the event.
  • There are five chairs in the room.
  • He has three siblings.
  • He’s the third person in line.
  • Which dress should I wear?
  • What time is it?
  • Whose backpack is this?
  • What a beautiful sight!
  • Such a great movie!
  • Each student must submit their assignment.
  • Every child deserves a chance.
  • You can choose either option.
  • Such behavior is unacceptable.
  • Neither answer is correct.
  • Too much sugar is bad for you.
  • None of us knows how to swim.
  • Nobody likes to be left out.
  • Both teams played their best in the final game.
  • Both of my parents are retired.
  • Has anyone seen my sunglasses?
  • Something smells delicious in the kitchen.
  • Someone left their keys on the table.
  • Can anybody tell me the time?
Examples of Determiners
Examples of Determiners
Determiners Uses and purpose with their Examples
Determiners Uses and purpose with their Examples
Determiners Uses and Purpose with their Examples
Determiners Uses and purpose with their Examples

 

Determiners used after countable nouns

Purpose

Example

Many

to express variety or quantity

I have many friends in college.

So many

to express a large quantity or extent

There are so many nice clothes at this shop.

Too many

to express extremely large quantity but in a negative sense

Kate has too many

Shoes in her cupboard.

How many

to ask questions

How many bottles of water should I buy?

Few

to express small quantity or extent but in a negative sense

Aslam has few socks left for winters.

A few

to express small quantity or extent but in a positive sense

I will borrow a few books from the library tomorrow.

Much

to express variety or quantity mostly in negative sentences

I don’t know much about physics.

So much

to express a large quantity or extent

Thank you for showing so much faith in me.

Too much

to express extremely large quantity but in a negative sense

John shows too much leniency with the kids.

How much

to ask questions

How much sugar do you take in your tea?

Little

to express small quantity or extent but in a negative sense

I have little hope of winning the race tonight.

A Little

to express small quantity or extent but in a positive sense

We will have a little juice at the restaurant.

Determiners used before countable nouns and uncountable nouns

Purpose

Example

Somewhere

to express an uncertain place

I want to go somewhere peaceful

Someone

to express an uncertain person

Please send someone who has knowledge about computers.

Something

to express an uncertain object or feeling

Something is wrong with my phone.

Any

to express an uncertain amount in negative sentences and questions

I don’t want to buy any DVDs.

Anywhere

to express an uncertain place

They are not going anywhere tonight.

List of 50 common Determiners:

  1. the
  2. a
  3. an
  4. this
  5. that
  6. these
  7. those
  8. my
  9. your
  10. his
  11. her
  12. its
  13. our
  14. their
  15. some
  16. any
  17. someone
  18. few
  19. several
  20. all
  21. both
  22. each
  23. every
  24. either
  25. neither
  26. another
  27. several
  28. some
  29. few
  30. many
  31. much
  32. most
  33. enough
  34. little
  35. a little
  36. something
  37. plenty of
  38. more
  39. less
  40. least
  41. several
  42. no
  43. none
  44. enough
  45. such
  46. what
  47. which
  48. whose
  49. whatever
  50. whichever

Quiz of Determiners;

 1. Which determiner shows ownership or possession?

  1. that
  2. our
  3. some
  4. first

2. Choose the correct determiner: “She bought ____ new dress for the party.”

  1. the
  2. a
  3. some
  4. several

3. Can you buy ____ apples from the store?

  1. some
  2. any
  3. many
  4. much

4. Do you want ____ cup of tea?

  1. a
  2. some
  3. any
  4. every

5. I don’t have ____ time to finish this project.

  1. some
  2. much
  3. little
  4. enough

6. I have ____ oranges in my basket.

  1. any
  2. much
  3. some
  4. none

7. ____ boys in the class passed the exam.

  1. every
  2. both
  3. any
  4. few

8. Don’t look directly at ____ sun.

  1. a
  2. an
  3. the
  4. on
9. ____ the students passed the exam.
  1. all
  2. no
  3. each
  4. both

10. ____ students in the class were absent today.

  1. no
  2. some
  3. all
  4. any

11. ____ cat is sleeping on the sofa.

  1. this
  2. an
  3. some
  4. the

12. I have ____ interest in sports.

  1. little
  2. several
  3. enough
  4. any

Answers; 

  1. our
  2. a
  3. some
  4. a
  5. enough
  6. some
  7. few
  8. the
  9. all
  10. some
  11. the
  12. little

FAQs

Q1. What is a determiner?

Determiner is a word that describes or modifies the noun. It’s often placed before the noun and gives us additional information about it.

Q2. What are the five basic types of determiners?

Determiners are classified into four main types namely; 

  1. Articles (a, an, the)
  2. Demonstratives (this, that, these, those)
  3. Possessives (my, your, his, her, its, our, their)
  4. Distributive (each, every)
  5. Quantifiers(some, any, many, few, several, much, little)

Q3. What is an article?

An article is a word that introduces and specifies a noun. There are two types of article; Definite article (the) and Indefinite article (a, an).

Q4. What are the interrogative determiners?

Interrogative determiners are words that help us ask questions about nouns, like “which” for choosing, “what” for seeking information, and “whose” for ownership.

Q5. Give some examples of determiners?

  • I saw a bird in a tree.
  • That book was quite interesting.
  • My favorite color is blue.
  • Some people prefer tea over coffee.
  • Both children are very creative.
  • Do you have any spare pens?
  • She has such a lovely voice.

   Download PDF Lesson


You May Also Like