Relative Determiners

Relative determiners modify nouns within a relative clause. Follow the article to learn more about them.

Relative Determiners in the English Grammar

What Are Relative Determiners?

Relative determiners are used before nouns to connect the relative clause to an independent clause. They introduce the nominal relative clause.

Relative Determiners: Uses

Relative determiners connect a dependent clause to the main clause. Relative determiners and the nominal relative clause can act as the object or the subject of the independent/main clause.

Relative Determiners: Placement

using the relative determiner 'what' in a sentence

Relative determiners introduce a nominal relative clause and are always followed by a noun or noun phrase.

Here is the list of English relative determiners with examples:

What book to buy doesn't matter.

'What book to buy' is a subject for 'doesn't matter.' 'What' is used before 'book.'

I don't know which book you bought.

'Which book you bought' is an object for 'know'. 'Which' is used before a noun.

  • Possessive Relative Determiner 'Whose'

Relative determiner 'whose' shows possession.

I don't know whose book you have.

'Whose' heads the nominal relative clause and serves as the object.

Tip!

If 'whose', 'what', and 'which' are not followed by a noun, they are no longer determiners. Rather, they are interrogative pronouns. In the following examples, they are relative pronouns:

Whose are these?

What do you want?

Which is better?

Review

Relative determiners are used to connect a dependant clause to the main clause. They are used:

  • as the head of a nominal relative clause
  • always followed by a noun/noun phrase

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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.

Indefinite Determiners

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Indefinite determiners are determiners that express quantity or the indefinite ideas of quality. They agree in number and gender with the noun they modify.

Articles

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