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The Possessive Interrogative Determiner in English Grammar

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The Possessive Interrogative Determiner in English Grammar

Determiners are a closed class of words that provide information such as familiarity, location, quantity, and number about a noun or noun phrase. Determiners differ in form and function from adjectives, which describe attributes of nouns and noun phrases. Possessive interrogative determiners both (1) express possession of or some other relationship to another word or phrase, like the other possessive determiners, and (2) ask questions about unknown nouns and noun phrases, like the other interrogative determiners. The only possessive interrogative determiner in English is whose. Like other determiners, the possessive interrogative determiner performs the grammatical function of determinative.

Using Possessive Interrogative Determiners

The possessive interrogative determiner whose both expresses possession of or some other relationship to another word or phrase and formulates direct or indirect questions and exclamations. For example:

  • Whose car is in the driveway?
  • Whose uncle received the huge pay raise?
  • You sent the package to whose children?
  • The strange man bought whose broken lawnmower?
  • Whose baby did you say you were watching?
  • The tornado destroyed whose barn?

Possessive interrogative determiners both express possession of or some other relationship to another word or phrase ask questions about unknown nouns and noun phrases. The only possessive interrogative determiner in English is whose.

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Summary

Possessive interrogative determiners in English grammar are words that both (1) express possession of or some other relationship to another word or phrase, like the other possessive determiners, and (2) ask questions about unknown nouns and noun phrases, like the other interrogative determiners.

Possessive interrogative determiner is a grammatical form. The grammatical function performed by possessive interrogative determiners is determinative.

The only possessive interrogative determiner in English is whose.

References

Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
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.

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Written by Heather Johnson

Heather is a writer, librarian, linguist, wife, and mother who loves her husband, children, dogs, and cat. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in creative writing and master's degrees in library and information science and English studies with a concentration in linguistics.

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