FUNCTION AND CLASSES OF DETERMINERS
Determiners are words placed in front of a noun to make it clear what the noun refers to. The word 'people' by itself is a general reference to some group of human beings. If someone says 'these people', we know which group they are talking about, and if they say 'a lot of people' we know how big the group is.
Classes of Determiners
There are several classes of determiners:
Definite and Indefinite articles
the, a, an
this, that, these, those
my, your, his, her, its, our, their
a few, a little, much, many, a lot of, most, some, any, enough, etc.
one, ten, thirty, etc.
all, both, half, either, neither, each, every
Which, what, whose
The following words are pre-determiners. They go before determiners, such as articles: such and what, half, rather, quite
Possessive pronouns and possessive adjectives show who the thing belongs to.
NOTE: In English, possessive adjectives and pronouns refer to the possessor, not the object or person that is possessed.
Jane's brother is married to John's sister.
Her brother is married to his sister.
EXCEPTIONS TO USING THE DEFINITE ARTICLE
There is no article:
Articles in English are invariable. That is, they do not change according to the gender or number of the noun they refer to, e.g. the boy, the woman, the children
'The' is used:
1. to refer to something which has already been mentioned.
Example: An elephant and a mouse fell in love.
The mouse loved the elephant's long trunk,
and the elephant loved the mouse's tiny nose.
2. when both the speaker and listener know what is being talked about, even if it has not been mentioned before.
Example: 'Where's the bathroom?'
'It's on the first floor.'
3. in sentences or clauses where we define or identify a particular person or object:
Examples: The man who wrote this book is famous.
'Which car did you scratch?' 'The red one.
My house is the one with a blue door.'
4. to refer to objects we regard as unique:
Examples: the sun, the moon, the world
5. before superlatives and ordinal numbers: (see Adjectives)
Examples: the highest building, the first page, the last chapter.
6. with adjectives, to refer to a whole group of people:
Examples: the Japanese (see Nouns - Nationalities), the old
7. with names of geographical areas and oceans:
Examples: the Caribbean, the Sahara, the Atlantic
8. with decades, or groups of years:
Example: she grew up in the seventies
A / AN
Use 'a' with nouns starting with a consonant (letters that are not vowels),
'an' with nouns starting with a vowel (a,e,i,o,u)
An before an h mute - an hour, an honour.
A before u and eu when they sound like 'you': a european, a university, a unit
The indefinite article is used:
NOTE: that we use 'one' to add emphasis or to contrast with other numbers:
I don't know one person who likes eating elephant meat.
We've got six computers but only one printer.
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