Article Summary


fuzzy bee

Quiz 1: beginning – intermediate

Quiz 2: intermediate – advanced 

Overview of Determiners (noun markers)

 phone friends

A friend called. / *Friend called. 
Friends called.

This / that friend called.
These / those / some / three friends called. 

A hair is on your sweater.
Hair makes a guy look young.  

A—Unspecific/Specific (Any, A particular one)


Making a violin requires more than technical knowledge. (unspecific – any one)

We gave a violin to the music school. (specific)


A comet appears to have a tail as it streaks through the sky.(unspecific)

A comet was seen in the western sky last night. (specific)


This is a global business.   /ˈg/ 

This is an electronic business. /ɪ/

The company has an NIH grant.   /ˈɛn/ 

The director has a university e-mail address./ˌyu/

The director has an unlisted e-mail address. /ʌn/

All—Plural Form


Dogs are descended from wolves.

The dog is descended from the wolf.


The—Indefinite one vs. Definite one

The Lion

The lion sleeps much of the day. (indefinite– all in general)

A lion sleeps much of the day.  (any one as an example)

salami - specific one

Salami is very salty. (indefinite – all in general)

The salami I just cut is very salty. (definite–this one)

Puzzle Piece

This is a puzzle piece. The piece fits into a puzzle.
(first mention)              (second mention)

puzzle piece fitting into puzzle

This is a puzzle.  The pieces are inside the box. 
(first mention) — (an expected part of an already mentioned item)

holding puzzle piece

The part on top is here.  (identified by modifier)

The part that I am holding is a corner.  (ident. by clause)

The part you see is a corner. (ident. by clause)

the last piece

Hand me the piece.   (ident. by both see or know it)

Hand me the last piece. (ident. by being unique, the only one)

The—Special Uses

an Englishman

He is an Englishman. (unspecific)

He is English. (adjective of nationality)

The English are northern people. (specific nationality)


the blind

The blind need accessible walkways.

The English  were proud of their team.

Do you want a large or small coffee.  I'll have the large.

The latter will be much better.  In fact,  it's the best.

The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is a beautiful landmark.  (specific)

Bay Area Satellite

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I live on the Peninsula.

I live in the coastal hills.

Map of U.S

She lives in France.

I live in the United States of America.

He lives in the Netherlands.


He is the most convincing actor of all.

He is the least likable character in the film.

It was the saddest movie ever.


milk and cookies

She ate one.  (a cookie)

Then she ate another (one more)

Then she ate the others (the rest of the group)

She ate other cookies. (not these)

college grad

The kids who are starting college this fall across nation were born in 1994.

They do not remember .....

Chez Panisse

"Chez Panisse Café " is a less-expensive alternative to Alice Waters' restaurant "Chez Panisse".



this blue marble

This blue marble is mine. (determiner)

This marble is mine. (determiner)

This is mine. (pronoun)

Related Pages


Most students ask questions.
Most of the students in my English class ask questions.

A number of the students ask questions.
The number of the students who ask questions is low.

Naughty Dog

Our dog is barking at other dogs. (determiner)

Their dogs are running away.

Your dog dislikes getting wet.


The paparazzi made its purpose clear. It had a right to be outside her house.

The paparazzi placed their cameras right in her face. They were rude, even mean.