Determiner (class)


Determiner (class)

ExamplesSidebar|35%
* The lady is a tramp.
* Some girls get all the luck.
* Which book is that?
* That book is my book.
* I only had two drinks.

A determiner is a noun modifier that expresses the "reference" of a noun or noun phrase, including quantity, rather than its "attributes" as expressed by adjectives. This word class, or part of speech, is defined in some languages, including English, though most English dictionaries still classify determiners under other parts of speech. Determiners usually include articles, and may include items like demonstratives, possessive determiners, quantifiers, and cardinal numbers, depending on the language.

English determiners

Determiners form a closed class of words that number (exclusive of cardinal numerals) about 50 in English and include [Cambridge Grammar of the English Language] :

* Articles: "a, an", ""
* Demonstratives: ', ', ', ', "", etc.
* Quantifiers: ', ', ', ', ', ', ', ', "", etc.
* Cardinal Numbers: ', ', "", etc.
* Possessive determiners (also known by several other names, including "possessive adjectives" and "possessive pronouns"): ', ', "", etc.
* Personal Determiners: ' teachers, ' guys
* Universal Determiners: ', '
* Distributive Determiners: ', '
* Existential Determiners: ', '
* Disjunctive Determiners: ', '
* Negative Determiners: ""
* Alternative-additive Determiners: ""
* Positive Paucal Determiners: ', ', ""...
* Pre-determiners: a type of determiner that can come before a noun with no interceding preposition. Examples: all, both, half.
* Degree Determiners: ', ', ', '...
* Sufficiency Determiners: ', '
* Interrogative and Relative Determiners: ', ', ', '

Some of them can be used in other lexical categories, such as the pronoun "what" in "What is good" as opposed to the determiner "what" in "what one is good".

The words "some", "one", and "no" are also used in ways that are demonstrative, not quantitative: "Roger Clemens is some ball player." "A diplomat who says 'no' is no diplomat."

It is debated whether numerals are determiners or not [Citation
last=Zweig
first=Eytan
title=Nouns and Adjectives in Numeral NPs
journal=Proceedings of NELS
volume=33
year=2005
url=http://homepages.nyu.edu/~ez255/downloads/NELS35_numeral_phrases_proceedings.pdf
] . For instance, the English numerals for 100 or larger need a determiner, such as "a hundred men." Similarly, while pronouns like , , etc. function as determiners in a noun phrase, many grammars do not make the distinction between class and function and so lump these in with determiners.

For a mostly complete , see Wiktionary.

Differences from adjectives

Traditional English grammar does not include determiners and calls most determiners adjectives. There are, however, a number of key differences between determiners and adjectives.

# In English, articles, demonstratives, and possessive determiners cannot co-occur in the same phrase, while any number of adjectives are typically allowed.
## A big, green, expensive English book
## * The his book
# Most determiners cannot occur alone in predicative complement position; most adjectives can.
## He is happy.
## * He is the.
# Most determiners are not gradable, while adjectives typically are.
## happy, happier, happiest
# Some determiners have corresponding pronouns, while adjectives don't.
## Each likes something different.
## * Big likes something different.
# Adjectives can modify singular or plural nouns, while some determiners can only modify one or the other.
## a big person / big people
## many people / * many person
# Adjectives are never obligatory, while determiners often are.

Differences from pronouns

Determiners such as "this", "all", and "some" can often occur without a noun. In traditional grammar, these are called pronouns. There are, however, a number of key differences between such determiners and pronouns.

# Pronouns may occur in tag questions. Determiners can't.
## This is delicious, isn't it?
## *This is delicious, isn't this?
# In phrasal verbs, pronouns must appear between the verb and particle. Determiners may occur after the particle.
## pick it up
## *pick up it
## pick this up
## pick up this
# Pronouns all have distinct genitive forms. Determiners don't.
## This is mine/yours/theirs.
## *This is all's.

Other realizations

In English, and in many other Indo-European languages, determiners are either independent words or clitics that precede the rest of the noun phrase. Not all languages, however, have a lexically distinct class of determiners. Determiner functions are sometimes realized morphologically as affixes on the noun, or by changing the noun's form. For example, Swedish "bok" ("book"), when definite, becomes "boken" ("the book"). Definite article suffixes are also found in the other North Germanic languages, in Romanian, and in Bulgarian.

External links

* [http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsADeterminer.htm SIL Glossary of linguistic terms - What is a determiner?]

References


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