Determiners - English Grammar

Determiners Video Lecture - Page 6

Determiners are words that are used with nouns to clarify the noun
to define something or someone
to state the amount of people, things or other nouns
to state possessives
to state something or someone is specific
to state how things or people are distributed
to state the difference between nouns
to state someone or something is not specific
There are different types of determiners. There type of determiner depends on the type of noun. Singular nouns always need a determiner. Plural nouns the determiner is optional.

Kinds of Determiners


There are 3 Articles A, An, The.

1) Definite Article
"THE"Articles in English are invariable. That is, they do not change according to the gender or number of the noun they refer to, e.g. the boy, the woman, the children'The' is used:

  • to refer to something which has already been mentioned.
    An elephant and a mouse fell in love.
    The mouse loved the elephant's long trunk,
    and the elephant loved the mouse's tiny nose.
  • when both the speaker and listener know what is being talked about, even if it has not been mentioned before.
    'Where's the bathroom?'
    'It's on the first floor.'
  • in sentences or clauses where we define or identify a particular person or object:
    The man who wrote this book is famous.
    'Which car did you scratch?' 'The red one.
    My house is the one with a blue door.'
  • to refer to objects we regard as unique:
    the sun, the moon, the world
  • before superlatives and ordinal numbers: (see Adjectives)
    the highest building, the first page, the last chapter.
  • with adjectives, to refer to a whole group of people:
    the Japanese (see Nouns - Nationalities), the old
  • with names of geographical areas and oceans:
    the Caribbean, the Sahara, the Atlantic
  • with decades, or groups of years:
    she grew up in the seventies

2) Indefinite Article
A / AN Use 'a' with nouns starting with a consonant (letters that are not vowels), 'an' with nouns starting with a vowel (a,e,i,o,u)
A boy
An apple
A car
An orange
A house
An opera

Point to Remember
An before an h mute - an hour, an hour.
A before u and eu when they sound like 'you': a european, a university, a unit

The indefinite article is used

  • to refer to something for the first time:
    An elephant and a mouse fell in love.
    Would you like a drink?
    I've finally got a good job.
  • to refer to a particular member of a group or class


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *