What are determiners?
A determiner is used to modify a noun. It indicates reference to something specific or something of a particular type. This function is usually performed by articles, demonstratives, possessive determiners, or quantifiers.
Determiners vs pronouns
Determiners are followed by a noun.
⇒ The man
⇒ This book
⇒ Some people
Subject pronouns ( I , you , he , etc.) and possessive pronouns (mine, yours, his, etc.) cannot be determiners because they can never be followed by a noun.
Types of determiners
The definite and indefinite articles are all determiners.
Definite article – the
Indefinite article – a or an (a is used before a consonant sound; an is used before a vowel sound.)
⇒ Close the door, please.
⇒ I’ve got a friend in Canada.
There are four demonstrative determiners in English and they are: this, that, these and those
Note that demonstrative determiners can also be used as demonstrative pronouns. When they are used as determiners they are followed by the nouns they modify. Compare:
⇒ This is my camera. (Demonstrative used as a pronoun, subject of the verb is)
⇒ This camera is mine. (Demonstrative used as a determiner modifying the noun camera.)
Possessive adjectives – my, your, his, her, its, our, your, their – modify the noun following it in order to show possession.
Possessive determiners are different from possessive pronouns – mine, his, hers, yours, ours, their.
Possessive pronouns can stand alone and are not followed by nouns.
Possessive determiners, on the other hand, are followed by nouns.
This is my house. (my is a possessive determiner. It is followed by the noun house which it modifies)
Is that car yours? (yours is a possessive pronoun. It is not followed by a noun.)
Quantifiers are followed by nouns which they modify. Examples of quantifiers include:
some, any, few, little, more, much, many, each, every, both, all, enough, half, little, whole, less etc.
Quantifiers are commonly used before either countable or uncountable nouns.
⇒ He knows more people than his wife.
⇒ Little knowledge is a dangerous thing .