Determiners in English Grammar - Explore Meaning, Definition, Types and Examples

Have you come across the term ‘determiners’? In the English language, there are multiple linguistic elements used in sentences to perform different functions and make the sentence sound and look sensible and meaningful. Determiners are one of the linguistic components that are used to determine the noun in the sentence. This article will walk you through all that you need to know about determiners, its meaning and definition, the types of determiners and how they are used in sentences. Also, check out the examples and try out the practice exercises given to have a thorough understanding of the same.

Table of Contents

What Is a Determiner? – Meaning and Definition

A determiner is a word that is used to modify or introduce the noun in a sentence. It mostly acts like an adjective in that it refers to the noun. Determiners include articles, adjectives of quantity, demonstrative adjectives, possessive adjectives, etc. A determiner need not always be in the beginning of a sentence; it can be used with nouns placed anywhere in the sentence.

A determiner, according to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, is defined as “a word such as the, some, my, etc. that comes before a noun to show how the noun is being used”, and according to the Cambridge Dictionary, a determiner is “a word that is used before a noun to show which particular example of the noun you are referring to”. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a determiner as “a word (such as an article, possessive, demonstrative, or quantifier) that makes specific the denotation of a noun phrase”, and the Collins Dictionary defines it as “a word which is used at the beginning of a noun group to indicate, for example, which thing you are referring to or whether you are referring to one thing or several.”

Types of Determiners

Determiners are classified into four main types namely,

  • Articles (such as ‘a’, ‘an’, and ‘the’)
  • Possessive Determiners (such as ‘my’, ‘your’, ‘his’, ‘her’, ‘its’, ‘our’ and ‘their’)
  • Demonstrative Determiners (such as ‘this’, ‘that’, ‘those’ and ‘these’)
  • Quantifiers (such as ‘some’, ‘a few’, ‘many’, ‘a little’, ‘little’, ‘few’, ‘none’, etc)
  • Distributive Determiners (such as ‘every’, ‘each’, ‘either’, ‘neither’, ‘both’, ‘all’, ‘half’, etc.)

Examples of Determiners – Learn How They Are Used

Here are a few examples of determiners to help you learn how exactly they are used in sentences.

  • My house is being renovated.
  • This movie is interesting.
  • I bought some apples and mangoes.
  • She gifted me an autographed copy of my favourite book.
  • Vanessa liked the dress I gave her.
  • Santana and Brittany sang a song together.
  • The Glee Club of William McKinley High School won the International Acapella Championship.
  • Rachel offered to make the dessert.
  • A few girls have gone to practise for the Teachers day programme.
  • I need those books I had given you last month.

Check Your Understanding of Determiners in English

Go through the following sentences and fill in the blanks by choosing the most suitable determiner from the box given below.

The, this, a, that, a few, a, some, every, the, any, an,

1. There are ___________ students who have not brought their science records.

2. We have ___________ document you asked for.

3. Can you sing ___________ song for me?

4. ___________ comic is really intriguing.

5. Nobody understood anything ___________ teacher taught.

6. I just had ___________ apple and ___________ milk.

7. Do you have ___________ food left?

8. Does Lily have ___________ pet?

9. ___________ story you told me was very moving.

10. Tina forgot to bring ___________ spectacles to work.

Now, check out the following section to see if you have filled in the blanks with the correct determiner.

1. There are a few students who have not brought their science records.

2. We have every document you asked for.

3. Can you sing a song for me?

4. This comic is really intriguing.

5. Nobody understood anything the teacher taught.

6. I just had an apple and some milk.

7. Do you have any food left?

8. Does Lily have a pet?

9. That story you told me was very moving.

10. Tina forgot to bring her spectacles to work.

Frequently Asked Questions on Determiners in English Grammar

What is a determiner?

A determiner is a word that is used to modify or introduce the noun in a sentence. A determiner need not always be in the beginning of a sentence; it can be used with nouns placed anywhere in the sentence.

What is the definition of a determiner?

A determiner, according to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, is defined as “a word such as the, some, my, etc. that comes before a noun to show how the noun is being used”, and according to the Cambridge Dictionary, a determiner is “a word that is used before a noun to show which particular example of the noun you are referring to”.

What are the types of determiners?

The four types of determiners are as follows:

  • Articles (such as ‘a’, ‘an’, and ‘the’)
  • Possessive Determiners (such as ‘my’, ‘your’, ‘his’, ‘her’, ‘its’, ‘our’ and ‘their’)
  • Demonstrative Determiners (such as ‘this’, ‘that’, ‘those’ and ‘these’)
  • Quantifiers (such as ‘some’, ‘a few’, ‘many’, ‘a little’, ‘little’, ‘few’, ‘none’, etc)

Give five examples of determiners.

Given below are five examples of sentences using determiners.

  • The Glee Club of William McKinley High School won the International Acapella Championship.
  • Today is the day all of us have been waiting for.
  • Do you have an extra pen?
  • Can I have some sugar in my coffee?
  • These dresses look beautiful and comfortable.