Determiners are those little words that precede and modify nouns. They are used in front of nouns to indicate whether you are referring to something specific or something of a particular type.

Classification of Determiners

There are six classifications of determines.

Articles– Definite article- specific
XXXXXXIndefinite articles- general
Numbers– specific
Quantifiers– general
Demonstrative adjectives– specific (see pronouns)
Possessive adjectives– specific (my car, see pronouns)
Possessive nouns– specific (Bob’s car, see pronouns)


    There are three articles- ‘the’ (definite article), and ‘a’ and ‘an’ (indefinite articles).

The definite article is used to indicate something specific. It refers to a noun that is either understood
(by the reader or listener) or has been previously referred to by the writer or speaker.

              The house I live in is very small.

    The indefinite articles are used when referring to something or someone not specific or not known.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Note that A is used before nouns (or adjectives modifying those nouns) that begin with a consonant.
AN is used before nouns (or adjectives modifying those nouns) that begin with a vowel or vowel sound.

Doctors frequently order an x-ray to help diagnose health problems of their patients.
X-ray begins with a vowel sound and should take the article an.


Numbers indicate a specific number of items.

There were ten people waiting in the doctor’s reception area.


Quantifiers are indefinite pronouns– IF the noun they refer to immediately follow the pronoun. Below is a partial list of indefintie pronouns.

all                    another          any                  both

each                either              few                  many

neither           one                 some               several

All animals in the zoo healthy.
Few politicians are really that trustworthy.

Demonstrative Adjectives 

That girl with the red hair is gorgeous.

Possessive Adjectives 

My house if old and dilapidated.

Possessive Nouns 

Bill’s computer just crashed.


For more information about determiners and their use take a look at

The Basics of English Grammar

 Other links for Determiners
XX Determiners and Quantifiers
XX Types of Determiners
XX Function of Determiners

An explanation of determiners and the different classifications of determiners–