What Is Definiteness?
Definiteness is a feature of noun phrases that refers to whether a noun refers to a specific or identifiable entity or not.
Uniqueness and Commonness
There are two groups of nouns based on whether they refer to unique or common entities:
Proper nouns are names of specific or unique people, places, and things. All proper nouns are definite and they don’t need indefinite articles.
They are planning to go to
But substituting “the” with the indefinite article 'a/an' can be wrong at times. for example:
Definiteness and Indefiniteness
Some words can modify common nouns and make them definite or indefinite, or categorize them as a specific type. These words can be categorized as:
- Definitie markers
- Indefinitie markers
- Type markers
There are definite determiners that change common nouns (general concepts) into specific concepts. These determiners include:
- the definite article: the
I’m going to
He’s already lost
All the time I was in
There are indefinite determiners that change nouns into indefinite nouns. These determiners include:
- Indefinite articles: a/an
I’m looking forward to being
- Quantitative: all (of), a number of, enough (of), ….
I’ve just bought
- partititve: spoon of, bunch of, slice of,...
There were two or three
A particular group of people or things are called 'types'. Types include: