Determiners are words that provide information such as familiarity, location, quantity, and number about a noun or a verb in the form of a present participle. The seven types of determiners in the English language are articles, demonstrative determiners, interrogative determiners, possessive determiners, possessive interrogative determiners, quantifiers, and numerals. Determiners perform only one grammatical function within sentences in the English language: determinatives.
Determiners as Determinatives
The only grammatical function that determiners perform is the determinative. Determinatives are words and phrases that express additional information such as definiteness, proximity, quantity, and relationships about a noun phrase or verb phrase in the form of a present participle. For example, the following italicized determiners function as determinatives:
- The dog sat on a frog on a log. (articles)
- That little boy kicked this little girl. (demonstrative determiners)
- Which toys belong in what box? (interrogative determiners)
- My cat is smarter than your bird. (possessive determiners)
- Whose van is parked out front? (possessive interrogative determiner)
- Both children ate some vegetables. (quantifiers)
- Two squirrels stole nine pumpkins. (numerals)
Additionally multiple determiners in the form of a determiner phrase can function as a determinative in English grammar. For example:
- All three of the children would not eat any of their vegetables.
- The thirteen books were each popular titles.
- All her many accomplishments impressed the many members of the search committee.
The one grammatical function of determiners in English grammar is the determinative.
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Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.