Determiners are functional elements of structure and not formal word classes.
- Cardinal Numbers and Ordinal Numbers
- Definite Article, Indefinite Article, and Zero Article
- Possessive Case
- Possessive Pronouns
- Sentence Completion Exercise: Personal Pronouns and Possessive Determiners
Etymology:From the Latin, "limit, boundary"
Examples and Observations:
- "The determiner class is one of the structure classes that straddle the line between a word class and a function. On the one hand, our most common determiners, the articles, do indeed constitute a small, closed structure class. At the other end of the spectrum are the possessive nouns, which function as determiners while retaining their membership in the open class 'noun.' In between are the subclasses of determiners that belong to the closed pronoun class: Demonstrative, possessive, and indefinite pronouns all function as determiners; and, of course, as pronouns they also function as nominals (in fact, 'pronominal' would be a more accurate label than 'pronoun').
"Determiners signal nouns in a variety of ways: They may define the relationship of the noun to the speaker or listener (or reader); they may identify the noun as specific or general; they may quantify it specifically or refer to quantity in general."
(Martha Kolln and Robert Funk, Understanding English Grammar, 5th ed. Allyn and Bacon, 1998)
- "There's no business like show business, but there are several businesses like accounting."
- "Both the cockroach and the bird would get along very well without us, although the cockroach would miss us most."
(Joseph Wood Krutch)
- "When I woke up this morning my girlfriend asked me, 'Did you sleep good?' I said 'No, I made a few mistakes.'"
- "Determiners are sometimes called limiting adjectives in traditional grammar. However, they not only differ from the class of adjectives by meaning, but also must normally precede ordinary adjectives in noun phrase structure. Further, among determiners themselves there are co-occurrence restrictions and fairly strict rules of word order."
(Sylvia Chalker and Edmund Weiner, Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar. Oxford University Press, 1994)
- Word Order With Multiple Determiners
When there is more than one determiner, follow these useful rules:
a) Place all and both in front of other determiners.(Geoffrey N. Leech, Benita Cruickshank, and Roz Ivanič, An A-Z of English Grammar & Usage, 2nd ed. Longman, 2001)
E.g. We ate all the food. Both my sons are at college.
b) Place what and such in front of a and an in exclamations.
E.g. What an awful day! I've never seen such a crowd!
c) Place many, much, more, most, few, little after other determiners.
E.g. His many successes made him famous. They have no more food. What little money I have is yours.