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Noun Phrases and Determiners

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Noun phrases start with determiners which are placed at the beginning of these phrases. Determiners are specific or general.

Lesson by Tristan, English teacher at EC Malta English school

Specific Determiners

Specific determiners are:
Possessives – my, your, his, her, its, our, their, whose
Demonstratives – this, that, these, those
The definite article – the
The interrogative – which

These are used when the speaker and listener know what is being spoken about:
I saw your new car parked outside. It looks great.
Is this phone new?
I loved the book you lent me.
Tell me which dress you like.

General determiners

General determiners are used when we talk about general things that the listener or reader may not know about.

General determiners are:
A, an, any, another, other, what

With uncountable nouns or plural nouns we do not use determiners:
Exercise is important.
Europeans love to travel.

With singular nouns we use ‘a’ or ‘an’:
I’ve just finished reading a great book.
Do you have an appointment?

We use ‘any’ with a singular noun or an uncountable noun when we mean all of them:
If you don’t lock the door any passerby can just walk in.
Choose any one of these wines. They are all excellent.

‘Another’ means one more person or thing:
Would you like another beer?
I think we can add another person to the list.

‘Other’ is the plural of another:
There’s room for four other people on the boat.

Choose the correct determiner for the following:

  • 1) Do ___ of your friends speak Dutch?





  • 2) I haven’t seen ___ brother in ages. I should give him a call.





  • 3) You’ve got to see ___ film. It’s hilarious.





  • 4) Why don’t we listen to ___ song?





  • 5) Which one of ___ cities did you say you’d visited?




  • 6) I went into ___ supermarket at the corner and ran into an old classmate of mine. I hadn't seen him in ages.





  • 7) I was told that you have ___ interest in art history.





  • 8) Our neighbours' son drove ___ car into a lake.