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Determiners: identifiers and quantifiers

By definition, determiners are words such as articles, possessive adjectives, demonstrative adjectives or quantifiers which we use to introduce nouns or nominal phrases (noun phrases). For example, determiners are words like; either, every, a/an, my, that, neither etc.

Above all, determiners either identify nouns or quantify nouns, hence the two categories of determiners: Identifiers and quantifiers.

So, we can divide Determiners into two main categories; Identifiers and quantifiers.


Used for identifying the noun, to express which one(s), or whether the thing or person is known to the recipient). Articles, possessives, and demonstratives can all function as identifying determiners. 

Articles: a/an, the

  • I like the horse. 
  • It’s a great day.

Possessive adjectives: my, your, his, her, its, our, your, their, one’s, whose etc.

  • My car and motorbike
  • Your friend.

Demonstratives adjectives: this, these, that, and those

  • She loves this house in particular.
  • Those guys are great.


Quantifiers express the ‘amount’ or ‘quantity’ of a noun; both thing or person. They can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns

  • Would you like some more coffee?
  • He doesn’t have any bicycles left.
  • She has no news to talk about.
  • I’ve got enough ice cream thanks.

Furthermore, this is just a very small portion of ‘quantifiers‘. Others include less, least, all several, little, few, etc.

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Quantifying determiners

These can also be put in further subordinating categories, either the ones that go with ‘uncountable nouns‘, ‘countable nouns‘ or both ‘countable and uncountable nouns‘.

Determiners for uncountable nouns 

  • much
  • little
  • a great deal of
  • a large quantity of
  • a bit of
  • a little

Determiners for ‘countable nouns’

  • Several
  • many
  • a few
  • a majority of
  • a number of
  • a large amount of

Determiners for both countable and uncountable nouns

  • some
  • any
  • enough
  • lots of
  • more/most
  • less/least
  • plenty of
  • no
  • none

See also