Functions of determiners in sentences

Determiner is a type of grammatical unit used to introduce noun or noun phrases. Often, it is placed before noun to give information about the noun mentioned. There are several types of determiners like, articles, demonstrative and personal pronouns, adjectives etc. To understand the functions of determiners in sentences, we need to go much deeper.

Meaning and functions of determiners

Determiner is a type of grammatical unit used to introduce noun or noun phrase. Besides, it is used to give information about the things mentioned. It clarifies the whereabouts of noun used in the phrase or sentence. But, determiners aren’t used after the noun or head.

1. Example of determiners in noun phrase

A book
That player
Either option
Three solutions
Every attempt
These people etc.
These are some examples showing the position and types of determiners in the noun phrase.

2. Placement of determiners in sentence

It is important to note that determines cannot be placed after noun (head) in the phrasal structure. It is used before noun or head of the noun phrase. But, in a single noun phrase, more than one determiners are possible. Here are possibilities of more than one determines in a single phrase.

3. Examples of positions of determiners

Pre – determiners + noun — a book.
Post determiners + noun.
Pre + post + noun — all the people.
Pre + central + noun.
Central + post + noun.
Pre + central + post +  noun — all these little children.

Types of determiners in english grammar

Basically, there are two types of determiners –
Definite determiners
Indefinite determiners
But, in general, they are classified into several categories.

1. Articles — A, An, The

As we know that in english language, articles are used to determine the nature of noun whether it is
Singular or plural,
General or specific,
Definite or indefinite.
Generally, ‘a’ article is used to indicate singular or general state of things. Whereas, ‘the’ article is preferred to describe the specific nature of nouns. ‘An’ is used before vowels beginning nouns.


I know the bike is very expensive.
I want a bike to go college.
An apple, an elephant, an airplane etc.
Here is a list of other categories of determiners :–

2. Demonstrative adjectives as determiners

Demonstrative adjectives –
This and these are used for nearer things. Whereas, that and those are preferred for longer distance.


These animals, this animal,
That animal, those animals
3. Universal determiners — all, both.
4. Distributive determiners — each, every.
5. Existential determiners — some, away.
6. Cardinal determiners — one, two, three.
7. Disjunctive determiners — either, neither.
8. Degree determiners — many, much, few, little.
9. Sufficiency determiners — enough, sufficient, adequate.
10. Interrogative and relative determiners — which, what, that etc.
Apart from this, there are many more types of determiners like, pre-determiners, central determiners, and post determiners as per the placement of determiners in the phrasal structure.

  • What a good idea
  • All the situations
  • All these little children

All this information is highly important in the formation of noun phrases. So, hope you will understand the functions of determiners in sentence in detail.

Mitigators and intensifying adverbs

Examples and functions of noun phrase