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Determiners: It’s Kinds and Usage

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A determiner is a word used to specify or identify a noun. It is used to modify (make clearer) a noun or a noun phrase. Articles, Possessive Pronouns and Qualifiers are called Determiners.

Look at the following phrases:
A boy- The train
Our house His uncle
Those occasionn These flowers

The first words of all the sentences are called determines.

Kinds of determiners:

Articles: - 'A', 'An' and 'The' are called articles.
'A' and 'An'Meaning One) are known as indefinite articles while 'The' is called the definite article. We place an article before a noun, but if there is any adjective before a noun, the article precedes (i.e. comes before) the adjective.

A flower- 'a'beautiful flower
An Apple- 'a'ripe apple
The pen- 'anexpensive pen


•The underlined words are adjectives
•A singular countable noun should always precede a determiner.

Sample Usage

Use of 'A'/'An':

1.'A' and 'An' are used before common nouns in singular number:

a book- a child- a garden
an ant- an orange- an exercise


When a singular common noun refers to a whole class, i.e. all the members of the class, no article is put before it:-

Man is mortal (all men and women)
Children are the best gift of God. (all children)


‘A' is used in the following senses:

1.'A'= any- Give me a pen.
2.'A'= one- A beggar is begging on the street.
3.'A'= per- Apples are selling Rs.20/- a kg.


Generally no article is placed before a proper, material or abstract noun, but if they are used as common nouns or if they are followed by an adjective of more than one word, an article should be put before them:-


Shakespeare was the greatest poet and dramatist of England.

Kalidas is the Shakespeare of India

Gold is a valuable metal.
The gold used in the ring is pure.

2.‘A' is used before a countable singular noun beginning either with a consonant or a vowel pronounced as a consonant.

A cock - a hotel- a train
A union - a one-rupee coin- a university

(Sounds like ‘yu') (Sounds like ‘w') (Sounds like ‘yu')

3.'An' is used before a countable singular noun but beginning either with a vowel or a consonant, pronounced as a vowel.

An apple- an equation- an executive
An honest boy- an M.P.- an hour


In honest and hour, 'h' is silent. Hence, the words are pronounced as ‘onest' and ‘our' i.e. starts with a vowel sound.

In case of M.P., 'M' is pronounced as ‘em' i.e. again a vowel sound.

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