Determiners are a kind of noun modifier; they precede and are necessarily followed by nouns. While adjectives perform a similar function, the term ‘determiner’ refers to a relatively limited set of well-established words that can be said to ‘mark’ nouns.

The function of determiners is to ‘express reference’; i.e. they clarify what a noun is referring to. For example when one says ‘that box’, the listener knows which box is being referred to.

There are many types of determiners:

Types of Determiners 

There are five basic types of determiners that are discussed below.

Article Determiners
Demonstrative Determiners
Possessive Determiners
Numeral Determiners
Quantitative Determiners
  1. Article Determiners

There are three kinds of article determiners a, an and the. These can be further divided in two parts Indefinite and Definite articles.


  • A boy is playing in the garden.
  • We are having an orange.
  • I am going to write an article tomorrow.
  • The Indians are really very hard working.

Let us discus their types

Indefinite A, An
Definite The

Indefinite:-A is used before that singular noun which starts from consonant sound.

For example

  • A parrot, a boy.
  • A useful guide, a European lady.

An is used before that singular noun which starts from vowel sound.

For example

  • An orange, an
  • An p, an s.d.o.

Definite :- The is used to refer any person or thing .

For example

  • I like the mango of Allahabad.
  • He has lost the book I gave him yesterday.
  1. Demonstrative Determiners

This, that, these and those are Demonstrative determiners. These are used to specify the position on any object from the subject’s point of view.

This or that are used with singular noun and these or those are used with plural noun.

For example

  • This book is mine.
  • These clothes are ours.
  • I do not like that
  • Those notes are yours.
  1. Possessive Determiners

They come before nouns and represents the relation or possession. My, our, your, his, her, their and its are Possessive Determiners. These pronouns are of Possessive case.

Possessive determiners are used to specify who a object belongs to.

For example

  • Her clothes are very neat and clean.
  • Our class students are very helping and caring.
  • Your brother is too young to take this responsibility.
  • My father is very honest and loving.
  1. Numeral Determiners

There are three types of Numerals determiners.

Definite One, two, three, First, second, both etc
Indefinite Some ,many, few ,all several types
Distributive Each, every neither ,either

Definite Numeral:-It is used to represent certain numbers

For example

  • He has two
  • The first girl in the second row is my cousin.

Indefinite Numeral:-It is used to represent uncertain numbers

For example

  • There are some notes on the table.
  • Many girls are absent today.
  • I have read few
  • She gave me all the grapes.

Distributive Numeral:- It is used to represent a group people or thing.

  • Every human being on the earth dies.
  • Each boy likes to play game.
  • Neither plan will work for sure.
  1. Quantitative Determiners

These determiners are used to indicate the quantity. Some, any, No, Much, More, Less, little and many are quantitative determiners.

For examples

  • There is still much water in the lake.
  • Some boys are playing in the top floor.
  • I don’t have any answer for your question.
  • Emma has no sense how to talk with others.
  • The hope for the success is little.
  • You had made many mistakes in past days.


Some Notes on Quantifiers

Just like articles, quantifiers are words that precede and modify nouns.

They tell us how much or how many. Choosing the correct quantifier depends upon your understanding of the difference between countable and uncountable nouns.

Quantifiers that can be used with countable nouns are: many, few, a few, several, a couple of, none

Many students

Few children

A few girls

Several children

A couple of days

None of the boys

The following quantifiers are used with non-countable nouns:much, little, a bit of, a good deal of, great deal of, no

Not much writing

A bit of writing

A little writing

A good deal of writing

A great deal of writing

Some quantifiers can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns. Examples are: some, all, most, enough, a lot of, lots of, plenty of, a lack of

In formal academic writing, avoid phrases such as a lot of, lots ofand plenty of. Instead, you can use much and many.

There is an important difference between a little and little and between a few and few.

Consider the examples given below.

Merlin has a little experience in graphics designing. (= Merlin is no expert graphics designer; however, she does have some experience in graphics designing and that should be enough for our purposes.

Merlin has little experience in graphics designing. (= Merlin doesn’t have enough experience. We had better find somebody else.)

My sister has written a few books on child psychology. (= She has written some books – not a lot of books)

I have read few books on Indian mythology. (= I haven’t read enough books on Indian mythology.)