Determiners

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We see name plates and sign boards everywhere we go.

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Name plates tell us whose house it is...

While sign boards tell us where we are going and roughly how far our destination is..

Similarly in grammar we have words which act like these sign boards.

These words are called “Determiners”

We use determiners to identify things.

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Normally these determiners come before the noun.

For example- “This book belongs to Sara.”

In this example we know the noun is “book” and the determiner “this” helps to identify which book is being spoken about.

Some determiners are listed here.

Let us now learn about the different types of determiners.

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Let us look at the first type of determiner- Definite article: The

We use “The” in front of a noun when we know that the listener or reader knows exactly what we are talking about.

For example The man who wrote this book is famous.

Here we use “the” as we know that the reader or listener knows what we are referring to.

The second type of determiner is Indefinite articles- “A” and “An”

We use the indefinite articles “a” or “an” before a singular noun.

We use this when the listener or reader does not know exactly what we are talking about.

We use “a” before consonant sounds.

We use “an” before a vowel sound.

For example I ate a banana for breakfast.

Here we see “a” before the noun “banana” which begins with a consonant sound.

Let us look at another example. ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’

In this sentence we use ‘an’ as the noun ‘apple’ begins with a vowel sound.

Now that we know these two types of determiners, let us take a look at a few more types.

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The next type of determiner is Demonstrative words like- ‘this’ ‘that’ ‘those’ ‘these’

We use demonstrative words to show where a person or thing is in relation to the speaker.

We use words like ‘this’ and ‘these’ to point to people or things who are near us.

We use words like ‘that and ‘those’ to point to people or things who are not near us.

For example “We have lived in this house for over twenty years.”

Here the word ‘this’ is used before the noun ‘house’ to show that the house is close to the speaker

Another example would be “Who are those people?”

Here the word “those” is used to indicate that the people are far away from the speaker.

Another type of determiner that we will learn about is- Possessives like -

We use possessives when we are trying to show that something belongs to someone or something.

For example “Thank you for your letter.”

Here the word “your” is used to show whose letter the speaker is talking about.

The final type of determiner is a ‘quantifier’

We use quantifiers when we want to give someone information about the number of something

Some examples of quantifying words are -

An example of a quantifier is- “She ate some mangoes after lunch.”

In this example “some” shows how many mangoes were eaten.

Another example would be “I can eat most things, but cheese makes me sick.”

Here “most” tells us how many things the speaker can eat. It comes before the verb “things”

Now we know what determiners and quantifiers are.

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Let us quickly recap what we have learnt.

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Determiners are words we use before a noun that help us identify things.

We use the determiner “the” when we know that the listener or reader knows exactly what we are referring to.

We use the determiner ‘a’ and ‘an’ when we know that the reader or listener does not know exactly what we are talking about.

We use “a” for consonant sound and we use “an” before a vowel sound.

We use demonstrative words like “this” ”that” “these” “those” to show where a person or thing is in relation to the speaker.

We use words like ‘this’ and ‘these’ to point to people or things who are not near us.

We use words like ‘that and ‘those’ to point to people or things who are not near us.

We use possessives like ‘my’ ‘your’ ‘his’ ‘her’ when we are trying to show that something belongs to someone or something.

We use quantifiers when we want to give someone information about the number of something

Some examples of quantifying words are -

That’s all Folks!

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