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Determiners & Quantifiers

Learning English with The AN and freSy

Learning English with The AN and freSy

Are you familiar with the term “determiners” and “quantifiers”? They are important for English grammar. These are placed in front of nouns to make it easier to understand what the nouns are referring to. For example: my car, this room, his house.

This article will dive into the world of determiners and quantifiers and make you understand their role in English and how to use them.

Determiners and Quantifiers

The words which are placed before nouns to understand what the nouns are referring to are known as determiners. Determiners behave like an adjective since they introduce or alter a noun in a sentence. For example: that game, your life, our planet.

Quantifiers are words which are placed before nouns to quantify a noun i.e., they indicate an amount or quantity. For example: some milk, most children, lots of people.

Quantifiers are sometimes classified as a type of determiner.

Determiners

Definition of Determiners

A determiner can be defined as a word which precedes a noun to indicate how the noun is used. It helps in making us understand which specific example of the noun is being referred to.

Examples:

- Where is my car? (Indicates a personal car)

- This book is really interesting. (Referring to a particular book)

Types of Determiners

In general terms, there are five different types of determiners:

1. Articles

They are one of the most commonly used determiners. They are used to identify the noun that is being referred to. Based on whether the noun is specific or non-specific, there are two types of articles: definite (“the”) and indefinite (“a” and “an”)

Examples:

- Where is the washroom?

- He wishes to be an actor.

2. Demonstrative Determiners

Demonstrative determiners are used to indicate the position of a person or thing relative to the speaker. Common demonstratives are “this”, “that”, “these”, “those”, “here”, “there”.

Examples:

Those days are gone.

This city is beautiful.

3. Possessive Determiners

As the name indicates, these determiners indicate possession. They include pronouns like “my”, “our”, “your”, “his”, “her”, “their”.

Examples:

Did you find his notes?

This is our home.

4. Quantifiers

Quantifiers are used to refer to a number or quantity in a noun phrase. Words like “many”, “few”, “a little”, “a lot”, “some”, “a little” are some of the types of quantifiers.

Examples:

There are many animals in the zoo.

Can you pass some sugar?

5. Distributive Determiners

Distributives determiners are used to refer to a group or individual components within a group. Words like “each”, “every”, “all”, “both” are some examples of distributive determiners.

Examples:

- Each player contributed to the winning cause.

- All the students passed the exam.

In some cases, there are mentions of two more types of determiners. They are:

Interrogative Determiners

They are used to modify a noun into a question with the use of words like “what”, “whose” and “which”.

Examples:

- Which game were you talking about?

- Whose phone did you use?

Determiners of Difference

Two words “another” and “other” are used as determiners of difference. They are used to refer “different kinds of” or “additional”.

Examples:

Do you have any other book?

There are other options you can try.

Examples of Determiners
  1. The moon is shining brightly.
  2. This is his notebook.
  3. That watch is very expensive.
  4. At what time will you leave?
  5. Each student got the chance to speak.

Quantifiers

Definition of quantifiers

Quantifiers are words that precede a noun to denote a number or quantity to that noun phrase. Words like “many”, “few”, “a little”, “a lot”, “some”, “a little” are some of the types of quantifiers.

Examples:

  • We can see many stars in the night sky
  • Can you pass me some water?
Types of Quantifiers

There are three main classifications of quantifiers.

1. Quantifiers that Indicate Large Quantities

Here, words like “many”, “a lot”, “much”, “several”, “a number of” are used to refer to large quantities.

Examples:

  • There are many books in the library.
  • JK Rowling has written several books on the fantasy world of Harry Potter.
2. Quantifiers that Indicate Small Quantities

Examples:

  • Few people left the building.
  • The boy paid little attention to what his father said.
3. Neutral or Relative Quantifiers

These quantifiers do not refer to a small or large quantity. Words like “some”, “any”, “enough”, “most of” represent relative quantifiers

Examples:

  • There is some money in the drawer.
  • He has done enough work for today.
Examples of Quantifiers
  1. There are few people at the station.
  2. Can I have some water?
  3. There are several cars in the showroom.
  4. I have enough money to buy that phone.
  5. There are a lot of trees in the forest.

Uses of Determiners and Quantifiers

Both determiners and quantifiers are placed in front of nouns to make it easier to understand what the nouns are referring to. While determiners have multiple uses, quantifiers are mainly used to indicate a number or quantity that the noun is referring to.

Based on its uses, determiners have different classifications. Articles (“a”, “an”, “the”) are determiners that are used to provide the specificity of the noun i.e. to indicate whether the noun is specific or non-specific. Demonstrative determiners (“this”, “that”, “these”, “those”, “here”, “there”) are used to indicate the position of a person or thing relative to the speaker. Possessive determiners (“my”, “our”, “your”, “his”, “her”, “their”) indicate possession while distributives determiners (“each”, “every”, “all”, “both”) are used to refer to a group or individual components within a group.

Similarly, quantifiers are classified based on the quantity that is being referred to i.e., small, large, or relative. Words like “few”, “little”, “many”, “a lot”, “some”, “any” are examples of quantifiers.

Determiners vs Adjectives

Determiners and adjectives are both used to alter or modify a noun phrase. There are, however, some vital differences between the two of them which must be known for better understanding of the language. These differences are:

Adjective Determiner
Position It can be used both before and after a noun It always precedes a noun
Noun A noun can have more than one adjective A noun can have only one determiner
Superlatives and Comparatives Adjectives have superlative and comparative forms Determiners do not have superlative and comparative form
Number There are a lot of adjectives in the English language Determiners are limited in the English language
Removal It is possible to remove adjectives from a sentence; the sentence will still make sense after removing it. Removal of determiners from a sentence is not possible.
Examples of Adjectives:
  1. She is a pretty girl.
  2. That is a huge elephant.
Examples of Determiners:
  1. Each player contributed to the winning cause.
  2. This is his notebook.

Conclusion – Determiners & Quantifiers

Determiners and quantifiers are an integral part of the English grammar. They help to describe the noun phrase by clarifying how it is being used. This makes the sentence more clear-cut and precise. Determiners help to indicate several qualities like possession, specificity, relative position, distribution within a group. Quantifiers are a type of determiners which denote quantity or number. One should learn about the usage of determiners and quantifiers to increase their command over the language.

Practice questions on Determiners & Quantifiers

Fill in the blanks with the correct determiner

Q1. This pen is mine, but ______ pen is yours.

(a) that (b) any (c) some

Ans. that

Q2. ________ girls have completed their assignments.

(a) A (b) Any (c) these

Ans. These

Q3. _________ house is this?

(a) Whose (b) Which (c) What

Ans. Whose

Q4. ________ brother is smart.

(a) Many (b) Your (c) A

Ans. Your

Q5. There is _______ coffee in the flask.

(a) every (b) many (c) a little

Ans. a little

Q6. Any idea _______ key this is?

(a) their (b) whose (c) much

Ans. whose

Q7. Would you like to have ________tea?

(a) many (b) those (c) some

Ans. some

Frequently Asked Questions – Determiners & Quantifiers

A determiner can be defined as a word which precedes a noun to indicate how the noun is used. It helps in making us understand which specific example of the noun is being referred to. For example:

  • Where is my car? (Indicates a personal car)
  • This book is really interesting. (Referring to a particular book)

Quantifiers are words that precede a noun to denote a number or quantity to that noun phrase. Words like “many”, “few”, “a little”, “a lot”, “some”, “a little” are some of the types of quantifiers.

Examples:
  • We can see many stars in the night sky
  • Can you pass me some water?

Examples of determiners:

  1. The sun is shining brightly.
  2. This is her diary.
  3. That car is very costly.
  4. At what time will you leave?
  5. Each player played their part.

Examples of quantifiers:

  1. There are few people at the station.
  2. Can I have some sugar?
  3. There are several animals in the zoo.
  4. I have enough money to buy those tickets.
  5. There are many books in the library.

It is easy to identify determiners and quantifiers in a sentence. They always precede a noun and help to clarify how that noun is being used.

For example:

  • This is my house.
  • Few people left the building.

In both the cases, the determiner (my) and quantifier (few) precede nouns (house and people) respectively.

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