Determiners

Determiners come before nouns or noun phrases and show if the noun is specific or general.

Definite and Indefinite Articles

Articles function like adjectives in a sentence. There are three article in English: "a", "an" and "the". "A" and "an" are known as the indefinite articles and "the" is known as the definite article.

Definite article


Definite article "the" is used when the subject is unique, specific or has been mentioned before.


We also use the definite article in the following situations:

  • Before famous structures

  • Before family names

  • Before countries that include the words "republic", "kingdom", or "states" in their names

  • Before countries that have plural names

  • Before decades

  • Before geographical areas

  • Before superlatives and ordinal numbers

Examples:

People love to take pictures in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The Andersons are coming over for dinner on the weekend.

The United Kingdom is in Europe.

Will you be visiting the Netherlands this time?

I wish I had been alive in the '60s.

The Amazon River is the widest river in the world.

This is the best movie I have ever seen.

The Indefinite Articles

The indefinite articles "a" and "an" are used to talk about things for the first time and particular members of a class or group. Use "a" when the word that comes after starts with a consonant and "an" when it starts with a vowel.

We also use the indefinite articles in the following situations:

  • There is one of something

  • Job names

  • Nationalities

  • Religions

  • An example of something

  • After "what" and "such"

Examples:

There is a rat in the basement!

A police officer knocked at my door last night.

She married a Japanese man and moved to Japan.

He goes to synagogue because he is a Jew.

My mother has a large collection of vintage postcards.

What a lovely day!

Demonstratives

The demonstratives in English are "this", "that", "these", "those". They show, or demonstrate, where things are in relation to the speaker.


This sweater is so itchy.

Are you going to eat this muffin?

I will need these boots when I go hiking tomorrow.

That building is so tall I can't see where it ends.

Will we also be offered those snacks?

Those cherry trees are starting to blossom.

Quantifiers

Quantifiers are word or phrases used before a noun to show how much or how many.

Used with countable nouns Used with uncountable nouns Used with both
many much Todo
a few/few/very few a little/little/very little enough
a number (of) a bit (of) more/most
several a great deal of less/least
a large number of a large amount of no/none
a great number of a large quantity of not any
a majority of some
any
a lot of
lots of
plenty of

I'm selling several old university books online.

There are very few spoons left in the cutlery drawer.

There is a large amount of money in Leslie's bank account.

There is plenty of hot water for you to take a shower.

We have enough chocolates for everyone to have four each.

Distributives

The distributives show how something is distributed, divided or shared. They include "all", "both", "each", "every", "either" and "neither".


All of the students in the class passed the exam.

They would both like a copy of the program.

Each child in the dance class will get new tap shoes.

I have liked every chocolate I have tried so far.

I would like either the red or the blue car.

Neither the brown nor the white dog went for a swim.