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A determiner is a word that modifies a noun but does not describe its attributes, as an adjective does. Determiners express the reference of the noun or noun phrase within its context. Some examples of the types of reference that determiners can express include: definiteness or indefiniteness; relative distance (near/far); possession by something or someone; a specific number or quantity; and others. In both English and Spanish the articles typically indicate definiteness or indefiniteness, and they are one of the groups of determiners; the other determiners are those words that normally are not used together with an article. In English the words that typically are classified as determiners include the articles (the, a and an), the demonstrative adjectives (this, that, these and those), possessive adjectives (my, our, your, his, her, its and their), quantifiers (many, few, several, and so on), numerals, distributives (each, any, every), and interrogative adjective/pronouns (which). Some examples of determiners are:

  • The woman is wearing a coat.
  • Where is your car?
  • Some dogs chased the cat.
  • Which film did you see?
  • There are fourteen apples in the bag.
  • That man is a laywer.
  • Both houses were painted last year.

Determiners in Spanish are analogous to determiners in English.

See also