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 words that are used to give little information about the following noun. They tell us whether the noun is general or specific, one or more, etc.

Different Types of Determiners

There are different types of determiners in English:

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

What Are Pre-determiners?

Pre-determiners come before central determiners or they are used alone to determine the following head noun. There are different pre-determiners in English as follows:

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


A number that is used to multiply 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 the examples.

I will give you half my salad.

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


Intensifiers are used to strengthen 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 particular individuals in a group. They do not point to them as a single whole. But they may refer to each individual. Only a few distributives can be used as pre-determiners. Here are distributive as pre-determners.

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 and there can be a pre-determiner before or a post-determiner after it to make a combination that modifies the head noun. Here are the central determiners.


'Articles' are words that are used to determine a noun. It can indicate whether the noun is definite or indefinite. 'Definite nouns' are particular nouns. Whenever someone uses a definite article before a noun they make it clear which one they are referring to. When indefinite articles are used they refer to a noun that is general and is not a specific noun. Here are the articles:

  1. A
  2. An
  3. The

Take a look at some examples:

I heard a noise.

The teacher started to walk in the class.

Demonstrative Determiners

'Demonstrative determiners' are terms that are used to demonstrate things and objects. 'Demonstrating' means to point to something. Remember the demonstrative determiners are just used before nouns. Here are the demonstrative determiners:

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:

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

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


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 particular individuals in a group. They may point to them as a single whole of each individual. 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

Actually, 'determiners' and 'adjectives' are different from each other. 'Determiners' are supposed to be used only once before one particular noun, but there is a possibility of using an unlimited set of adjectives before a noun. You can not use 'determiners' after a verb, but 'predictive adjectives' are used after verbs.

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 in some cases, we can omit them, but before singular nouns, they are usually needed and not omitted. On the other hand, you can easily omit adjectives before nouns and the sentence still makes sense in this case. 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.


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

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

Possessive determiners are types of function words used before a noun to show ownership or possession. In this lesson, we will learn all about them.

Interrogative Determiners

There are three interrogative determiners in English: what, which, and whose. In this lesson, we will go through each one of them.

Demonstrative Determiners

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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