Determiners – Part I

Determiners are words like the, my, this, some, either, every and each. Determiners are not adjectives, but they come at the beginning of noun phrases.

Examples are:

  • My house
  • His friend
  • That tree
  • This girl
  • Each man
  • Every boy
  • Enough trouble

Determiners can be classified into two main groups:

Group A determiners
Group B determiners

Group A determiners

Group A determiners are of three kinds:

Articles: a, an, the
Possessives: my, your, his, her, their, our, your, whose, one’s
Demonstratives: that, this, these, those

Group A determiners are used to identify things. We cannot put two group A determiners together. We can, for example, say the cat, my cat or this cat, but not the my cat, my this cat or the this cat.

If we have to put a possessive and an article or a demonstrative together we use the structure a/this … of mine/yours etc.

  • He is a friend of mine. (NOT He is a my friend.)

Group B determiners

There are several different kinds of Group B determiners. Most of these are quantifiers. They say how much or many we are thinking / talking about.

Examples are:

  • Some, any, no
  • Each, every, either, neither
  • Much, many, more, most; little, less, least; few, fewer, fewest; enough
  • All, both, half
  • What, whatever, which, whichever
  • One, two, three etc.

Some group B determiners are used with singular nouns. Examples are: each, every, either, neither etc.

Some group B determiners are used with plural nouns. Examples are: many and few

Some are used with uncountable nouns. Examples are: much and less

There are also a few determiners that can be used with more than one kind of noun. Example: which