Determiners

Determiners are words like a, my, this, those, each, either, some, few, all and both. They come at the beginning of noun phrases, but they are not adjectives.

a new book
every week
some rice
enough trouble
my mother

English grammar recognises two main groups of determiners – Group A and Group B.

Group A determiners

Articles, demonstratives and possessives are often called Group A determiners. They help to identify things.

Articles – a, an, the
Demonstratives – this, that, these, those
Possessives – my, our, your, their, her, his, its, one’s, whose

Two Group A determiners cannot be put together. We can say my car, this car or the car, but not the my car, this my car or my this car.

If we have to put two Group A determiners together, we use the structure a/this + noun + of mine/yours.

  • this car of mine
  • friend of yours

Group B Determiners

Most of them indicate something about quantity.

Examples are:

We can put two Group B determiners together, if the combination makes sense.

  • We meet every few days.
  • Have you got any more rice?

Group B + Group A

Group B determiners can be used directly before nouns without of.

  • Have they got any children?
  • Most people love children.

But if we want to put a Group B determiner before a noun with a Group A determiner, we have to use of.

Compare:

  • some children
  • some of the children
  • neither method
  • neither of these methods
  • most plants
  • most of the plants

Points to be noted

We can leave out of after all, both and half when they are followed by nouns.

  • all my friends OR all of my friends
  • both (of) my parents
  • half (of) her income

But note that we cannot leave out of when all, both and half are followed by pronouns.

  • all of us (NOT all us)
  • both of them (NOT both them)

No and every are not used before of; instead we use none and every one.

  • no children
  • none of the children
  • every child
  • every one of the children

Group A + Group B

Certain Group B determiners can be used after Group A determiners. They are: many, most, least, little and few.

  • a little time
  • his many ideas
  • a few questions
  • the most money
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Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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