Determiners are words that can define nouns. So, what are the differences between determiners and adjectives?

"Determiners" in the English Grammar

What Are Determiners?

Determiners are a part of speech in English that are used to modify and specify a noun or noun phrase. They can indicate the number, quantity, possession, or definiteness of the noun.

Determiners: Types

There are different types of determiners in English:

  1. pre-determiners
  2. central determiners
  3. post-determiners

What Are Pre-determiners?

Pre-determiners appear before other determiners in a noun phrase to provide additional information about the noun. They modify the meaning of other determiners. Pre-determiners in English include:

  • multipliers
  • fractions
  • intensifiers
  • distributives (both, all)


A number that is used to increase the amount, number, or quantity of something is called a multiplier. Check out the examples:

She eats twice the normal amount.


Fractions are used to show a smaller part of a whole. Here are some examples.

I will give you half my salad.

Three-forth the cup has to be filled with oil.


Intensifiers are adverbs or adverbial phrases that are used to amplify or emphasize the degree or extent of a noun or an adjective. Take a look at these examples.

The first day of school was such terrible day that I rather not go there again.

What a mess you are!


'Distributive determiners' refer to specific individuals within a group rather than the group as a whole. They can refer to each individual separately. However, only a few distributives can be used as pre-determiners. Here are distributive pre-determiners:

Take a look at some examples:

Both my friends are in love with Hanna.

I gave all his money back.

Central Determiners

Central determiners are used in the middle position to modify the head noun. They can be used in combination with a pre-determiner before or a post-determiner after them to further modify the noun. Here are the central determiners of English:


Articles are used to specify a noun as either definite or indefinite. Definite articles refer to a specific noun, while indefinite articles refer to a general noun that is not specific. Using a definite article before a noun helps to identify which noun is being referred to, while using an indefinite article indicates a more general reference. English articles are as follows:

  1. A (indefinite article)
  2. An (indefinite article used with nouns that start with a vowel)
  3. The (definite article)

Take a look at some examples:

I heard a noise.

He is an actor

The teacher started to walk in the class.

Demonstrative Determiners

'Demonstrative determiners' are used to indicate or point to specific things or objects. They are only used before nouns to modify or specify it. Here are the demonstrative determiners of English:

Take a look at some examples:

Those butterflies are flying around the flowers.

That girl standing over there, is the one who won the prize.

Possessive Determiners

using determiners in a sentence

'Possessive determiners' indicate the possession of objects. In other words, they are used to say to whom something belongs. As their name requires possessive determiners show who possesses something. Here are the possessive determiners:

Take a look at some examples:

Those are my pants honey, put them on the bed, please.

The cooks set their tables for the match on their own.

Interrogative Determiners

'Interrogative Determiners' are used to ask a question. These are Interrogative determiners of the English language:

Take a look at some examples:

Whose car is this?

What color is your car?


Interrogative determiners are used alone with no post-determiners following them or any pre-determiners preceding them.


Post-determiners are placed after central determiners. Here are the post-determiners on the list.


Numerals can be ordinal, or cardinal numbers. Sequencers are kinds of numbers as well. They are all used as numerals.

Take a look at some examples:

I need to buy six oranges for the recipe.

A cardinal number

The first time I saw him I knew he would be the one.

An ordinal number

The next time you are here, make sure you tell the truth.

A sequencer


Quantifiers are used before head nouns to define an indefinite amount or number. They are used as post-determiners. Here are the most important quantifiers.

Take a look at some examples:

Many people voted for him.

A few glasses are still filled with red wine.

Distributive Determiners

'Distributive determiners' refer to specific individuals within a group, and can either point to them as a single whole or to each individual separately. Here are some distributive determiners.

Take a look at some examples:

Each one of us is trying to get the prize.

I spent every minute of my life with my mother.


Pre-determiners, post-determiners, and central determiners can be used alone as the only determiner of the head noun. Here are a few examples.

Both parents came to the meeting. → pre-determiners

My sister is an accountant.

Neither book was interesting for me.

Adjectives vs. Determiners

Determiners and 'adjectives' are two distinct parts of speech in English grammar. While determiners are used only once before a particular noun, there is no limit to the number of adjectives that can be used before a noun. Additionally, determiners cannot be used after a verb, whereas predictive adjectives are commonly used after verbs to describe the subject or object of the sentence.

determiner + determiner adjective + adjective
determiner + adjective adjective + determiner
determiner + noun adjective + noun
noun + determiner noun + adjective
verb + determiner verb + adjective
can omit determiner can omit adjective

Determiners are not always used before plural nouns and can sometimes be omitted, but they are typically necessary before singular nouns. Adjectives, on the other hand, can often be omitted before nouns without affecting the sentence's overall meaning. Check out the table for more detailed information.


Determiners come before nouns to modify them. Here are different types of determiners.

  • articles
  • demonstratives
  • possessive
  • quantifiers
  • distributives


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Pre-determiners are used to modify a noun. They are placed before the central determiners. Follow the article to learn about them.


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Post-determiners are terms that are used after central determiners. They are all used to modify the noun phrase. follow the article to learn more.

Determiner Order

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As you know, pre-determiners, determiners, and post-determiners can be used together to modify a noun. In this lesson, we will learn about their order.

Possessive Determiners

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Interrogative Determiners

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Demonstrative Determiners

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Demonstrative determiners in English are this, these, that and those. They are used to identify the person or thing that is being referred to.
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