Determining Determiners: The Clarifying Words
Quick tip: After you learn about these clarifying words, look at this useful reference for more information.
What is a Determiner?
Essentially, these words explain whether you’re speaking about something general or something specific. In addition, it can tell your reader or listener how much or how many of something you’re referring to. Let’s discuss these clarifying words, learn why they’re necessary, and discover how to use them properly.
You place clarifying words before the noun it is referring to. This gives the reader more information about the noun. Some clarifying words include a, an, and, the, that, this, your, ours, and its.
Our cat is sleeping and dreaming.
The book is used for research purposes.
You can identify clarifying words by locating the word just before a noun. These words can also appear before adjectives that may be describing a noun.
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Note: the word and in the sentence about the cat is a conjunction.
Two Main Categories
There are two categories of determiners, general and specific.
Use general words when you can’t remember the specifics and are not referring to a specific person or thing. Some main general words are a, an, many, other, what, etc.
Many dogs were barking last night.
Use specific words to refer to something specific. The main ones include the, my, your, his, her, etc.
My bird was singing all day.
List of Determiners
There are four types of determiner words in the English language. These types are known as articles, demonstratives, possessives, and quantifiers. Let's look at a few examples of each different type.
Articles are words such as a, an, and the.
Demonstratives include this, these, that and those.
Quantifiers are specific. They include many, much, a lot of, most, some, and any.
A possessive pronoun is a clarifying word. For instance, my, yours, his, hers, and their.
As a bonus, you can even call numbers such as one, ten, and twenty clarifying words.
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