Determiners are used before nouns or phrases to express its reference in a context; they include articles (a, an, the), demonstratives (this, these, that, those), possessives (my, your etc.) or quantifiers (all, many etc.)

The general determiners are: a; an; any; another; other; what

When we are talking about things in general we are not specifying exactly what we are talking about. This is because it is a general term or maybe it is not important what exactly we are referring to.

Remember we can use an uncountable noun or a plural noun with no determiner:

(GENERAL) I am really keen on horses. They are my favourite animals.



The specific determiners are:

  1. the definite article: the
  2. possessives: myyourhisheritsourtheirwhose
  3. demonstratives: thisthatthesethose
  4. interrogatives: which
  5. intensifiers: so, such, quite, rather, pretty, very, really


Specific determiners are used when we want to specify or make clear exactly what we are referring to. This is to help understanding and be specific about certain things.


Be careful with the difference between So and Such (intensifiers):

so + adjective (+ that) = He is so talented that I am sure that he will make it.

such + (adj) + noun (+ that) = He is such a talented musician that I am sure he will make it.


This versus that:

We use both this and that with singular or uncountable nouns. This is something that is in close proximity to us (time or place). Whereas that is distant (time or place):


This is my car. (It is next to me)

That is my car. (It is a distance away)


This has happened to me, too. (It occurred a short time ago)

That happened to me, too. (It occurred a long time ago)


These and Those are used with plural nouns:

The principal is the same. These, is used something that is in close proximity to us (time or place). Whereas those is for something distant (time or place):


Are you going to use these chairs? (They are right here)

Are you going to work with those children (They are a distance away or not present)


No or Not:

No + noun = I have no time, I would go but I have no money, He has no friends to go on holiday with.

Not + adjective = I am not happy about the situation. Why are you not worried about your exam marks?

Auxiliary + Not (verb) = I do not seem to be improving very much.


Intensifiers: Very, Really, Quite etc

Very/really + adjective = I am a really generous person.

Quite/pretty/rather + adjective = My twin brother is quite lazy and rather stingy.


A lot of + noun = We had a lot of fun the other day at the party.

Lots of + noun = I had lots of friends at university.


For more practice with determiners, click HERE



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