The Ordering of Determiners

Determiners occur before nouns, and they indicate the kind of reference which the nouns have. Depending on their relative position before a noun, we distinguish three classes of determiners. 
Central Determiner
I met

A sentence like this is somewhat unusual, because it is rare for all three determiner slots to be filled in the same sentence. Generally, only one or two slots are filled. 



Predeterminers specify quantity in the noun which follows them, and they are of three major types: 

1. "Multiplying" expressions, including expressions ending in times: 

      twice my salary 
      double my salary 
      ten times my salary
2. Fractions 
      half my salary 
      one-third my salary
3. The words all and both: 
      all my salary 
      both my salaries
 Predeterminers do not normally co-occur: 
      *all half my salary

Central Determiners

The definite article the and the indefinite article a/an are the most common central determiners: 
      all the book 
      half a chapter
As many of our previous examples show, the word my can also occupy the central determiner slot. This is equally true of the other possessives: 
      all your money 
      all his/her money 
      all our money 
      all their money
The demonstratives, too, are central determiners: 
      all these problems 
      twice that size 
      four times this amount


Cardinal and ordinal numerals occupy the postdeterminer slot: 
      the two children 
      his fourth birthday
 This applies also to general ordinals: 
      my next project 
      our last meeting 
      your previous remark 
      her subsequent letter
Other quantifying expressions are also postdeterminers: 
      my many friends 
      our several achievements 
      the few friends that I have
Unlike predeterminers, postdeterminers can co-occur: 
      my next two projects 
      several other people

Identify all the determiners in each of the following sentences.  

Click on all the words that you think are determiners; the answers you choose for each sentence will appear in the box underneath it. You don't have to type anything but you can click in the box to edit your answers if you need to. 
1. I'll just have half a cup

2. She calls her two children twice a week

3. Your photograph is in all the papers

4. Both these books were published last year

5. Other people get double the amount we get

6. I really need a new computer





copyright The Survey of English Usage 1996-1998
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