A determiner is a word used before a noun to show the kind of reference that it (the noun) is to make.
We know well that a noun can be someone or something. And the reference made by it can be of two types.
1. Reference made in a specific (definite) way.
2. Reference made in a general (indefinite) way.
Accordingly, determiners are of two chief types :
1. Specific or Definite Determiners.
2. General or Indefinite Determiners.
Here we shall study specific determiners. These determiners include-
1. The definite article.
2. This, that, these, those- demonstrative determiners, they are also called demonstrative adjectives.
3. my, our, your, his, her, its, their-possessive determiners. They are also called possessive adjectives.
4. What, which, whose-interrogative determiners, they are also called interrogative adjectives.
1. USE OF THE : See Articles
2. USE OF DEMONSTRATIVE DETERMINERS
These determiners include this, that, these,those. These four determiners precede nouns to refer to them in a specific way. Remember the following rules carefully:
A. This and These are used to refer to nouns that are close by (quite near) in terms of place and time;as:
1. He lives with this family in this flat.
2. I like this flat very much.
3. May I have one of these pens?
4. Don’t touch these books, please.
B. That and those are used to refer to nouns that are not close by but a bit far away in terms of place and time;as:
1. How much is it for that saree?
2. Give me a ring when those men reach here.
3. Would you move that cup towards me?
4. Just keep those children at arm’s length.
C. This and that are used before singular while these and those before plural nouns;as:
This book That chair These books Those chairs
Note-These four words-this, these, those-are used as demonstrative pronouns as well. In that case they are not followed by nouns but stand for themselves as:
1. This book is mine but that is yours.
2. These flowers are lovely but those are not.
3. USE OF POSSESSIVE DETERMINERS
These determiners include seven possessive words-my, our, your, his, her, its and their. They are used before nouns to show possession;as:
1. You are welcome to use my table.
2. I do not remember your name.
3. Our school stands on the road side.
4. His parents are yearning to see him.
5. Her beauty is really matchless.
6. Here is a dog. Its tail is bushy.
7. Their children are in the park.
Note-A. Never write the possessive determiner-its-as it’s which is in fact short form of it is or it has.
B. Sometimes to emphasis the possession, the word-own-is used after the possessive determiner;as:
1. My own brother is opposing me.
2. I have heard it with my own ears.
C. When the possession is quite clear, we can use the in place of a possessive determiner;as:
1. I patted him on his shoulder.
I patted him on the shoulder.
2. I held her fast by her arm.
I held her fast by the arm.
D. Possessive determiners are used in titles;as:
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN POSSESSIVE DETERMINERS AND POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS
Possessive Determiners are always followed by nouns. But when they stand alone in place of nouns, they become pronouns. But in that case the possessive form becomes a bit different.
Observe the following example:
1. This isn’t my frock; mine is blue.
2. Whose pen is this? It is his.
3. This book is costly but that is cheaper.
4. That shop sells cakes, not this.
5. These mangoes are fine but those are under-ripe.
6. These peas are far greener than those.
We know that determiners fall into two kinds-specific (definite) and general(indefinite)- We have studied specific determiners in detail. Here we shall study general determiners.
General or indefinite determiners are those determiners that are used before nouns to refer to them in a general way, not in a specific way. These determiners are as follows:
1. a, an – These are called indefinite articles.
2. Numeral Determiners
(a) one, two three etc. called cardinal number.
(b) First, second, third etc. called ordinal numbers.
(c) all, no, many, some, several etc. are called numeral adjectives.
3. all, no, some, little, much etc. are called quantitative adjectives.
4. each, every, either, neither, other etc. are called distributive adjectives.
5. which, what, whose are called interrogative adjectives.
Let us study the use of general determiners in detail.
1. USE OF -A, AN (See Articles)
2. NUMERAL DETERMINERS
A numeral determiner refers to the count or the order of its noun. as,
1. A hand has four fingers and one thumb.
2. A few boys are there in the room.
3. There are no books in the almirah.
4. All birds fly in the sky.
5. Some candles are still burning.
6. The on-lookers have come from many places.
7. Z is the last letter of the alphabet.
8. India is the seventh country in size.
3. QUANTITATIVE DETERMINERS
A quantitative determiner denotes the quantity of its noun. as,
1. I bought some milk.
2. He has a little pride of his position.
3. You have no right to say so.
4. She takes great care of her parents.
5. At my words, he lost all patience.
6. We have enough provisions for the year.
7. The whole story is false.
8. Much wisdom is needed for this job.
9. About half part of the earth is always in light.
4. DISTRIBUTIVE DETERMINERS
A distributive determiner refers to nouns of a group or class separately or individually;as:
1. Each soldier had a gun in his hands.
2. Every person is to die one day.
3. Either end of the lane is blind.
4. The spectators went to their several homes.
5. You can take your respective shares
. 6. Neither party is ready for a compromise.
7. Another worker is required to complete the job in time.
8. The other day, I met her by chance.
5. INTERROGATIVE DETERMINERS
An interrogative determiner refers to a question about its noun.Remember that there are only three interrogative determiners-
what,which and whose. they are also called interrogative adjective. Observe the following examples:
1. Whose pocket was picked yesterday?
2. Which leader spoke in yesterday’s meeting?
3. What height are you by the way?
These three interrogative words become pronouns if they are not followed by nouns but themselves stand for nouns;as:
1. Whose is this dirty shirt?
2. Which is your geometry-box?
3. What made you laugh so loudly ?
USAGE OF ARTICLES
Rule 1 : Generally an article is given before a common noun in singular number. e.g. I saw a boy. There was an orange. The dog ran at the cat. But when a singular common noun refers to all the members of the class, no article should be put before e.g., Man is mortal. Here ‘man’ refers to all men and women.
Rule 2 : As a general rule no article should be placed before proper, material and abstract nouns but when they are used as common nouns or when they are followed by an adjectival of more than one word, article ‘the’ or ‘a/an’ should be put before them. Study carefully the use of articles in the following sentences. Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan. The Jodhpur of today is prosperous town. Kalidas was the greatest poet in India. Kalidas was the Shakespeare of India. Gold is a valuable thing. The gold of Europe of Costly.
Rule 3 : ‘A’ is used in the following four senses :
(a) A = one. He has a pen in his hand.
(b) A = the same. The birds of a feather flock together.
(c) A = on. He has gone a hunting. I found him a bed (=on the bed.)
(d) A = per. He earns Rs. 3500/- a month
Rule 4 : ‘A’ is used before a word that begins with a consonant and that has a consonant sound. e.g. a book, a tame cat.
Rule 5 : Words beginning with a silent ‘h’ do not take ‘a’ before them they take the article ‘an’. e.g., an honest man, an hour.
Rule 6 : When a word begins with u/eu that has a consonant sound, the article an is placed before it. e.g. a unique thing; a useful book; a university; a student; a european girl.
Rule 7 : When a word begins with ‘o’ that has a consonant sound, the article ‘a’ is placed before it. e.g., a one-foot rule, a one-eyed woman; a one-sided decision; a one-rupee note; a one-act play.
Rule 8 : When a word begins with a vowel that has vowel sound, the article ‘an’ is placed before it. e.g., an old man; an orange; an elephant; an apple; an empty vessel.
Rule 9 : If the first letter of an abbreviation is F, H, L, M, N, R, S or X the article ‘an’ is placed before it e.g. An S.P. is an officer of a very high rank. An M.A. was appointed to the post. This teacher is also an N.C.C. officer.
Rule 10 : Article ‘the’ is used before the names of the following types of proper nouns
(a) Before the names of seas and oceans; e.g. The Arabian sea; The Indian ocean.
(b) Before the names of gulfs; e.g. The Persian gulf.
(c) Before the names of dates; e.g. The 26th January; The 2nd October.
(d) Before the names of seasons; e.g. The winter; the summer; the spring.
(e) Before the names of famous buildings; e.g. The Taj Mahal; The Kutub Minar; The Pyramid.
(f) Before the names of Canals; e.g. The Sharda Canal.
(g) Before the names of stars and planets; e.g. The Searchlight; The Indian; The Mars; The Comet; The Jupiter; The Moon; the Sun.
(h) Before the names of newspapers e.g. The Mid-day; The DB News; The Times of India; The Hindu.
(i) Before the names of religious books e.g. The Ramayan; The Quran; The Bible; The Gita.
(j) Before the names of title or posts e.g. The President, The Headmaster; The Rai Bahadur.
(k) Before the names of rivers e.g. The Ganges; The Nile.
(l) Before the names of a nation, community or party; e.g. The English; The Hindus; The Dutch; The Congress.
(m) Before the names of deserts; e.g. The Sahara Desert; The Gobi Desert.
(n) Before the names of plains; e.g. The Indo-Gangetic Plain.
(o) Before the names of group of islands; e.g. The East Indies; The West Indies.
(p) Before the names of mountain ranges; e.g. The Himalayas; The Alps
(q) Before some meaningful names of places; e.g. The Deccan; The Punjab; The Unites States.
Rule 11 : If a plural common connotes or signifies only a particular group and not the whole class, it must be preceded by the article ‘the’. e.g. Drive away the cows from the field (Here ‘cows’ refers to a particular group of cows.)
Rule 12 : If a singular common noun refers to a particular person or thing, it should be preceded by the article ‘the’ (never, a/an). e.g., My friend took the book I had bought. (Here ‘the book’ means ‘that book which I had bought.’)
Rule 13 : ‘The’ must be used before an adjective. If the noun qualified by that adjective is unexpressed. e.g. The rich are happy (Here the rich = rich persons.) The weak and the strong, the noble and the wicked-all will meet the same fate. (Notes : The + adjective stands as a common noun to denote or express the whole class.)
Rule 14 : ‘The’ must be used before the comparative form of adjective, if it does the purpose of an adverb e.g., The more you labour, the more shall you earn. The higher you go, the cooler you feel. The sooner is a thing done, the better it is.
Rule 15 : ‘The’ must be put before a noun, be it proper, material or a abstract, provided emphasis is laid on the use of such a noun. e.g., This is the time for doing it. This is the occasion to help the distressed. The death of a great scientist causes a great loss to the country.
Rule 16 : When a common noun is used to express an abstract idea, ‘the’ must be put before it e.g., He felt the patriot rise within his heart. (Here patriot means patriotic feeling.)
Rule 17 : ‘The’ is generally put before the superlative form of adjective e.g., This leader is the best speaker these days. This is the most fragrant flower in my garden.
Rule 18 : If a preposition is used before the name of a direction (north, south, east, west) article ‘the’ must be inserted between the preposition and the name of direction. ‘The’ should be avoided if there is no preposition. e.g., He is going to the south Or he is going south.
Rule 19 : ‘The’ should never be used before the adjectives ‘all’. ‘The’ should be put between all and the noun it qualifies. e.g., all the boys.
Rule 20 : When the names of different persons or things are joined by the conjunction ‘and’; ‘the’ must be put before the names of each, otherwise both the names will denote only one person or thing. e.g. The President and the S.D.O. are coming. (Here two different persons are spoken of). The President and S.D.O. is coming. (Here only one person is S.D.O. and president as well).
Rule 21 : If a noun is qualified by two or more than two adjectives, only one article should be placed before the first adjective only. e.g., A block and white cow is grazing. The wicked and jealous princesses was punished.
Rule 22 : ‘The’ should never be put before the following type of proper nouns.
(a) Before the names of cities and countries, e.g. Kolkata, England, America.
(b) Before the names of capes, e.g. Cape of Good Hope, Cape Horn etc.
(c) Before the name of a certain island, e.g. Ceylon, Sicily, Java, Sumatra etc.
(d) Before the name of religious book, provided it is preceded by the name of its author, e.g. Tulsidas’s Ramayan, Shakespeare’s Hamlet. (Note : But if the name of a religious book is followed by the name of its author ‘the’ is invariably used before e.g. The Ramayan of Tulsidas, The Hamlet of Shakespeare.)
(e) Before the name of a certain mountain or hill e.g. Mount Abu, Mount Everest.
(f) Before the names of days and months e.g. Sunday, Monday, January, February etc.
(g) Before the name of a lake, e.g. lake Sambhar, lake Chilka.
(h) Before the name of a language e.g. English, Hindi, French, Dutch, Greek, etc. Mark carefully how the meaning of the following words changes with the use of ‘the’ before them. English = English Language. The English = English People. French = The language of French. The French = the people of France. Dutch = the language of Holland. The Dutch = the people of Holland. Greek = the language of Greece. The Greek = the people of Greece.
Rule 23 : ‘The’ should never be put before the name of a subject of arts and science or any other subject. e.g., Geometry, Spinning, History, Biology, Painting, Drawing etc.
Rule 24 : If title/rank/profession is used in an apposition to the person holding such title/rank/profession. ‘the’ should be omitted e.g., Mr. Vaishnav, Director of our institute, is coming. Shri Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, reached Mumbai today.
Rule 25 : If the singular or plural form of a common noun refers to the whole class, no article should be placed before it. e.g. Man is mortal, Woman is the fair sex. Roses are red. Dogs are faithful animals.
REPETITION OF ARTICLE A, AN
Observe the following pairs of sentences-
1. (a) I have a white and black cow. (one cow only)
(b) I have a white and a black cow. (two cows)
2. (a) Newton met a scientist and poet. (one man)
(b) Newton met a scientist and a poet. (two men)
3. (a) She is a better singer than dancer. (one lady)
(b) She is a better singer than a dancer.(a dancer turned a singer)
4. (a) A horse and carriage is at the door. (one noun)
(b) A horse and a carriage are at the door. (two nouns)
5. (a) The famous scientist and philosopher is dead.(one person)
(b) The famous scientist and the philosopher are dead.(two persons)