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Determiners in English Grammar | Usage | Examples | Exercises |

What is a Determiner in Grammar? 

Determiner is a word that determines the noun it precedes be it a number or quantity. It usually comes before a noun or any adjectives that describe that noun. For example, the words written in bold are determiners: 

  • The girl standing there is my cousin.
  • I found a venomous snake on the way to home.
  • My father is an honest man. 

We always put the determiner before the noun or noun phrase. It is usually before the noun but it can also be used before adjectives. 

  • The little boy walked to garden with his friends
  • He had a red apple for breakfast. 
  • An angry bird flew over her head. 

Kindly notice, there is a difference between the determinersand An. The determiner a is used when the word following it begins with a consonant whereas the determiner an is used when the word following it begins with a vowel.

Types of Determiners 

There are four different types of determiners in English: Articles, Quantifiers, Demonstratives, and Possessives.

Articles 

Articles are words that make a noun specific or general. There are three types of articles; A, An and The. A and An are called indefinite articles whereas The is called a definite article.

Rules of Using ‘A’ 

  • Used for one thing/person.
  • Used before the sound of consonant.
  • Used before the sound of ‘Wa’.
  • Used before the sound of ‘U’.

For Example :

  • A man is standing there. (One person)
  • I bought a car for Rs. 5 lacks. (Consonant Sound)
  • There lying a one rupee note. (‘Wa’ Sound)
  • I have enrolled myself in a university. (‘U’ Sound).

Rules of Using ‘An’

  • Used for one thing/person.
  • Used before the sound of vowels.
  • Used before the words which begin with ‘H’ but used silently.

For Example :

  • An honest man never cheats. (One person)
  • She bought an umbrella from the market. (Vowel Sound)
  • It was an honorary job for the welfare of the people. (Silent H)

Rules of Using ‘The’

  • Used to specify the things/person
  • Used before the names of Ordinals, Holy books, Rivers, Political Parties Name, Well-Known Buildings, Superlative Degree, Families in Plural, Comparative Degree, Attribution, Mountain ranges, Oceans, Bays, Name of Newspapers, Magazine, Countries in plural, Group of islands, seas, canals, Organisations, Hotels, Pubs, Restaurant etc.

For Example :

  • She was the first one to climb the Mount Everest. (Ordinal)
  • The boy, who is playing in the park, is my nephew. (Specifying)
  • I was reading the Geeta. (Holy Book)
  • The BJP is in power and able to control and rule the nation. (Political Party)
  • The Sachdevas are on vacation now a days. (Families in Plural)
  • What do you think of the Taj Mahal? (Unique Object/Building)
  • Ram is the tallest boy of his class. (Superlative Degree)
  • The higher you go, the cooler it is. (Comparative Degree)
  • Rahul is the Sachin Tendulkar of Chennai. (Attribution)
  • I have never been to the Aravali. (Mountain Ranges)
  • Have you ever seen the Indian Ocean? (Oceans)
  • The Times of India is a good newspaper to read. (Name of Newspaper)
  • He has been named the richest man of India in the Forbe. (Name of Magazine)
  • They had worked in the Netherlands. (Countries in Plural)
  • The Taj is one of the most premier hotels of Tata Group. (Name of Hotel)

Omission of Articles

Many sentences in English may have articles. But there are times when an article is not needed. Have a look at some of the rules when article is not needed.

Rules

  • In front of Proper nouns.
  • Before the name of languages.
  • Before the names of metals
  • Before the name of the subjects, such as; Economics, Hindi, Physics, etc.
  • Before the names of a meal such as; lunch, dinner, etc. 
  • Before the names of seasons, festivals, names of days and months.
  • Before words like school, college, church, hospital, prison, temple etc. when used in general sense.

Demonstratives 

Demonstrative determiners are words that act as adjectives and show which thing or things are being talked about. This includes the words: this, that, these, and those.

  • This refers to something close in singular form.
  • That refers to something distant in singular form.
  • These refer to nearby plural things.
  • Those refer to distant plural things.

For Example :

  • This boy has all the talent of this world. (Boy standing/sitting nearby)
  • Can you spot that boy sitting under the tree? (Sitting at a distance)
  • These girls are going to make India proud. (Girls sitting/standing nearby)
  • What about those girls sitting at the back of the class? (Girls sitting at a distance)

Possessives

Possessive determiners show one’s belongingness or the things/objects owned by persons in the sentence.

For example: 

  • Have you seen my dog playing in the park?
  • One should respect one’s country.  
  • He quit his job for he was not being paid complete salary during lockdown.
  • They should talk to their parents to sort out this issue.
  • She has lost her purse somewhere in the market.
  • I have sold my flat to repay my debts.
  • We have lost all our money in the share market.
  • You must complete your work in time.
  • It brought up its puppies with love, care and affection.

Distributives 

Distributive determiners are words that describe how something is divided, shared and distributed. These words include every, each, either, and neither. They all are used before a singular noun but never used with proper nouns.

For example: 

  • Every one has the right to raise his voice.
  • Each child was checked again and again lest they should carry any unfair mean to copy in exams. 
  • Neither child (Ram and Shyam) had the courage to speak against the Principal.
  • Either company (Reliance or TCS) will lead India.

Each refers to a separate entity in the group, while every refers to all the entities in the group.

  • Six students entered the class. Each one had a flag in his hand.
  • Every girl wanted to participate for the ramp walk on the farewell.

Either refers to one out of two things/persons, while neither means none out of those two things/persons.

  • I liked neither movie watched yesterday with you guys. (Means he watched two but liked none) 
  • Both the roads take equal time to travel to Jaipur. So I pick either way. (Means one out of two)

Quantifiers 

Words that tell how many or how much of the noun, being referred to, are called determiners. Some of them are Little, Few, Some, Many, Much, Several, All, Most etc. 

Little

  • Little is used to denote less quantity.
  • It is used before uncountable noun.

For Example :

  • There was little space left in the room. (Less space)
  • We had a little water to drink. (Uncountable Noun)

A Little

  • A Little is used to denote less quantity. It is slightly more in quantity than little.
  • It is used before uncountable noun.

For Example :

  • I handed him in a little sugar to be added to his tea.
  • She had a little air to breathe among six people in the car.
  • A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

The Little

  • The Little is also used to denote less quantity. It is used in sentences with negative meaning. It means the same as “not much”.
  • It is used before uncountable noun.

For Example :

  • I can give you the little amount I have with me.
  • The little time we spent on reading was not enough to solve that comprehension.

Few

  • Few is used to denote less number(s).
  • It is used before countable and plural nouns.

For Example :

  • There were few students in the class. (Not many in number)
  • Few teachers had completed their teachers’ diary and brought to school. (Countable Noun)

A Few

  • A Few is used to denote less number(s). It is more than Few in numbers
  • It is used before countable and plural nouns.

For Example :

  • There were a few players in the ground. (More than few)
  • A Few teachers had brought their teachers’ diary to school. (Countable Noun)

The Few

  • The Few is also used to denote less numbers. It is used in sentences with negative meaning. It means the same as “not many”.
  • It is used before countable nouns.

For Example :

  • The few properties I have, are not enough to keep my body and soul together.
  • I sold the few plots have to have two square meals per day.

All

The determiner “all” means everything. It can be used both with countable and uncountable nouns. 

For Example :

  • All that glitters is not gold. (Uncountable Noun)
  • All the schools have been ordered to shut down during the pandemic. (Countable Noun)

Some

The determiner “Some” means a good number or quantity (But not many or much). It can be used both with countable and uncountable nouns. 

For Example :

  • There were some doctors who were helping others in getting the beds.
  • Some water was wasted by the people throwing the bottles here and there.

Much

The determiner “Much” means a lot of quantity. It is always used with uncountable nouns. 

For Example :

  • I have much space to organise a huge party.
  • Much of the sugar was rotten.

Many

The determiner “Much” means a lot of numbers. It is always used with countable nouns. 

For Example :

  • I have many friends to support me in ups and downs.
  • Many people of India did not cast their votes.

Most

‘Most’ is used before a countable as well as an uncountable noun as a determiner to speak in general. It denotes (more than 90 % of the quantity or number)

For Example :

  • Most of the people have been vaccinated with the first dose in India.
  • Most of the ground was wet therefore the match was called off. 

Several

‘Several’ is used for any number (Between 2 to seven) and before a countable noun.

For Example :

  • There were only several policemen to stop hundreds of protesters.
  • I bought several shirts for my nephew on his birthday.

Exercise for Determiners

1) Many a man _____ resigned from the job.
a) have
b) has
c) have not been
d) Has being

Answer: has

2) Little _____ been done
a) having
b) has
c) have
d) No error

Answer: has

3) There wasn’t _____ air left for breathing.
a) many
b) any
c) several
d) No error

Answer: much

4) They should do _____ work themselves.
a) there
b) their
c) theirs
d) No error

Answer: their

5) All the cooks cook ………. food …………………..
a) Their, themselves
b) There, themselves
c) Its, themselves
d) None of these

Answer: their, themselves

6) No ____ than fifty students ____ present there.
a) Less, were
b) Less, was
c) Fewer, was
d) Fewer, were

Answer: Fewer, were

7) When the examinations were over Anil and me went to our native town.
a) Anil & I
b) Me & Anil
c) Himself & myself
d) No error

Answer: Anil & I

8) There was not _____ space left when I entered the theatre.
a) Much
b) Many
c) Fewer
d) Less

Answer: Much

9) There was _____ university’s help desk few years ago
a) A
b) An
c) The
d) None of these

Answer: a

10) My father is ____ honest man.
a) A
b) An
c) The
d) None of these

Answer: an

11) She was reading ____ Ramayana
a) A
b) An
c) The
d) None of these

Answer: The

12) She was standing in _____ corner
a) These
b) Those
c) That
d) None of these

Answer: That

13) _____ are my hundred dresses.
a) These
b) That
c) This
d) None of these

Answer: These

14) Why don’t you read ____ Times of India?
a) A
b) An
c) The
d) None of these

Answer: The

15) There were _____ colleges available for admission?
a) Much
b) Less
c) Several
d) None of these

Answer: Several

16) I marked _____ questions wrong in my board exam?
a) Little
b) Few
c) a little
d) None of these

Answer: Few

17) _______ knowledge is a dangerous thing.
a) Little
b) A Little
c) Few
d) A few

Answer: A little

18) One should respect _____ nation.
a) his
b) ones’
c) ones
d) one’s

Answer: One’s

19) They should love and respect ________ mother tongue.
a) his
b) there
c) their
d) theirs

Answer: Their

20) He loves his mother. I love ____.
a) my
b) mine
c) myself
d) None of these

Answer: Mine

21) She knits her woolen clothes ____
a) herself
b) hers
c) herselves
d) himself

Answer: Herself

22) My wife’s father is ____ SDO.
a) a
b) an
c) the
d) None of these

Answer: An

23) ____ cow are grazing in the field.
a) a
b) an
c) the
d) None of these

Answer: The

24) I have been planning to read ____ Ramayana for years.
a) a
b) an
c) the
d) None of these

Answer: The

25) They have formed ____ union in front of _____ company.
a) a, there
b) an, their
c) a, their
d) None of these

Answer: A, their

 

# Determiners in English Grammar 

# Determiners in English Grammar Exercises

# Determiners in English Grammar Notes

# Determiners in English Grammar Solved Exercises

# Determiners in English Grammar & its Types

 

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