Words like, my, the, some, this, each, and etc. usually referred to as Determiners. These are words which are used before nouns. Determiners are of different types namely;

Possessives: my, your, his, our, its,  their

Quantifiers: a few, fewer, much, more, some, most, many etc.

Articles: a, an, the

Numbers: one, two, three

Demonstratives: that, these, those, this

A list of commonly used Determiners is given below.


(a) few, fewer, fewest every most that
(a) little half much the
(an)other her my their
a/an his neither these
all its no this
any John’s, Mary’s, etc. one, two, three, etc. those
both least our what
each less several which
either many some whose
enough more such your


There are times when one does not use them before the noun. They are known as the zero determiners.

Example: Cats love milk.


What is the purpose of a determiner?

They have two purposes mainly:  One is referring and the other, quantifying.

Referring Determiners:

This points to what or who we are talking about. Possessives, articles, and demonstratives are the most commonly used referring determiners.

Example:  A: Where is the magazine?

B: It’s on the table.

Here, ‘the’ which precedes the noun is something which both the speaker and listener already knows about.

Quantifying determiners:

This shows how much or how many of something is there.

Example: Four people were killed in the accident.

There are some chocolates here for you.

With the above examples, you might have understood the need to learn determiners if you want to better your English conversation skills. They are something which we use on a daily basis with or without our knowledge. It is important to know which determiner has to be used where. The proper usage of determiners come about only through the continuous practice of speaking in English.

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