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Lecture 3 Determiners

English Grammar

Lecture 3 determiners
Words that precede any pre-modifying ( ) adjectives in a noun phrase and which denote such referential meanings () as specific reference (), generic reference (), definite quantity () or indefinite quantity () are referred to as determiners. Determiners are used to determine nouns in numbers and areas. Determiners include articles, numerials, possessive pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, and indefinite pronouns. The head of a noun phrase limits the choice of derterminers, and when more than one determiner occurs in the noun phrase, there is the problem of word order.

3.1 classification of determiners


1) According to their potential position, determiners fall into three subclasses: predeterminers (), central-determiners () and post-determiners ( 2) Pre-determiners are those that precede central-determiners and post-determiners. Pre-determiners are also mutually exclusive. They include: all, both, half, double, twice, three times, etc.; one-third, two-fifths, etc.; such, what. 3) Central-determiners include: articles, possessive pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, gentitive nouns, some, any, no, every, each, neither, either, what, whatever, which, whichever, whose, whosever, enough, etc. Note that central-determiners are mutually exclusive and that no two members of the above-cited items ever occur together in a noun phrase. 4) Post-determiners refer to those that follow central or pre-determiners. Postdeterminers are not mutually exclusive, that is to say, two or more such items can co-occur in a noun phrase. This subclass includes: cardinal numerials, ordinal numerials, next, last, other, another, many, few, much, little, more, most, fewer, fewest, less, least, several, such, plenty of, a lot of, lots of, a great [large, good] number of, a great [good] deal of, a large [small] amont of. 5) When a noun phrase contains all three subclasses of determiners, their normal order is pre-determiner + central-determiner + post-determiner(s), e.g., all the five students / all these last few days / both his two sisters (1) If the noun phrase contains only two of the subclasses, they follow the same order, i.e., pre-determiner + central-determiner, e.g., half his income / both my parents / all the teachers (2) central-determiner + post-determiner, e.g.,
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Lecture 3 Determiners

English Grammar

his last few words / the next two boys / every othe day (3) pre-determiner + post-determiner, e.g., all three books / all other girls / half such people (4) post-determiner + post-determiner, e.g., several hundreds of tourists / three other workers / many more copies 6) When two post-determiners are used together, the order is usually fixed. If we change the order, we will get different meanings, e.g., the last two pages () the two last pages () 7) Such is very special. It can be used as pre-determiner and post-determiner, e.g., such a lovely day / many such things

3.2 collocations between determiners and nouns


The choice of determiners is closely related to what might be called the three classes of nouns: singular countable nouns, plural countable nouns and non-countable nouns. When we divide nouns into these three groups, well get seven situations because these three classes of nouns demand appropriate determiners to collocate with. 1. determiners with singular countable nouns only Determiners such as, a(n), one, every, each, neither, another, many a, such a , can only collocate with singuar countable nouns, e.g., every teacher / each student / neither bot / either girl / another story / such a garden / many a doctor (is) = many doctors (are) 2. determiners with plural countable nouns only Determiners such as, both, several, these, those, many, few, another two, a (great) number of, cardinals > 1, can only collocate with plural countable nouns, e.g., both nurses / several writers / these [those] flowers / another two girls / a great number of chairs 3. determiners with non-countable countable nouns only Determiners such as, much, little, less, least, a (little) bit of, a (large) amount of, a great deal of, can only collocate with non-countable nouns, e.g., less oil / (the) least oil / a bit of fun / a large amount of water / a great deal of money 4. determiners with singular and plural countable nouns only Determiners such as, the last, the next, ordinals, can go with either singular or plural countable nouns, e.g.,

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Lecture 3 Determiners

English Grammar

the last paragraph / the next room / the first [second] lesson 5. determiners with singular and non-countable nouns only Determiners such as, this, that, can collocate with either singular or non-countable nouns, e.g., this table / this paper that desk / that chalk 6. determiners with plural and non-countable nouns only Determiners such as, more, most, such, other, enough, a lot of, lots of, plenty of , can go with plural and non-countable nouns, but not with singular nouns, e.g., more books / more time such persons / such food enough chairs / enough air most rooms / most money other apples / other water a lot of = lots of (oranges, furniture)

plenty of eggs / plenty of equipment 7. determiners with all three classes of nouns Determiners such as, possessive pronouns, genitive nouns and the definite articles, as well as, all, hald, some, any, no, what, whatever, whose, whosever, which, whichever, the other, can go with all the three classes of nouns, e.g., my bag / my shoes / my money Toms pen / Toms pencils / Toms money the bus / the boxes / the water all day = the whole day / all the students / all the water half apple / half measures / half work some boy / some children / some fish any person / any maps / any soap no idea / no carpets / no bread whose watch / whose shirts / whose sheep

3.3 article usage


English has two articles: the definite and the indefinite article. As we know, all English common nouns have article contrast, so with plural countable nouns and noncountable nouns, the absence of an article signals the presence of another kind of article --the zero article. It is in this sense that we may also say that English has three articles --- the definite, the indefinite, and the zero article. 1. the use of indefinite article There are six main situations with indefinite article.

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Lecture 3 Determiners

English Grammar

(1) a class of people or thing, e.g., A teacher must love his students. The best way to learn a language is to live among its speakers. (2) one of a lot of people or things, e.g., The paln will be ready in a week or two. / Marys father is an engineer. (3) some person or something, e.g., A comrade from Xinjiang Teachers University called to see you when you were out. / This poem was written by a student. / Rome was not built in a day. (4) each or per, e.g., We drove the car at eighty miles an hour. We have grammar lessons three times a week. (5) the same thing, e.g., Birds of a feather flock together. / John and I are nearly of an age. (6) in idiomatic expressions, e.g., all of a sudden, as a rule, as a matter of fact, at a loss, to be in a hurry, to keep an eye on, to keep a secret, to have a pain [cough, headache], to have a try, to take a dislike to 2. the use of definite article There are ten main situations with definite article. (1) the person(s) or thing(s) known by both sides, e.g., Give me the book. / Close the window, please. (2) the only thing in our world, e.g., The earth moves around the sun. / The sky is quite blue and cloudless. * Such words are, the globe, the Equator (), the universe, the atmosphere, the outer space (3) the person(s) or thing(s) mentioned again, e.g., Singleton is a quiet village near Chichester. The village has a populatin of a few hundred people. He bought a bicycle last Sunday. The bicycle is yellow and nice. (4) before a noun which is modified by a prepositional phrase or a restrictive attributive clause, e.g., She pointed to the house at the corner and said, That is where my teacher lives. This is the dictionary I bought yesterday. (5) in such sentence pattern, v. + name / pron. + prep. + the + body, e.g.,

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Lecture 3 Determiners

English Grammar

They pulled her by the hair. / Her mother patted her on the head. / She grabbed Tom by the arm. / The ball hit him in the face. (6) before singular countable noun to show the meaning of a class of people or things, e.g., The compass was invented in China. / The mango is a tropical fruit. / The rose is my favorite flower. (7) before an adjective or a collective noun to express a class of persons or things, or a stratum (/pl. strata/ social class), a class, a people, e.g., the blind, the dead, the deaf, the old, the new, the oppressed, the poor, the rich, the sick, the young, the wounded The Chinese are industrious and brave. / The French cook better than the English. / Life was hard for the working class. (8) before the musical instruments played in western countries, e.g., My daughter is playing the piano. / Tom plays the violin well. / I like to hear him play the saxophone. * But sometimes we do not use definite article before Chinese musical instruments, because they are proper nouns, e.g., You will hear the sound of Jinghu in Beijing opera. / Do you like her playing Pipa? (9) before twenties, forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties to express ones age and a decade of a century, e.g., I was born in the 1970s. / She is in the [her] thirties. (10) in idioatic expressions, e.g., at the foot of, by the way, for the time being, in the distance, in the end, in the shade (
), on the spot, on the left [right], on the way, on the whole, to be in the habit of, at the

hands of, to take the fancy of 3. the use of zero article There are twelve main situations with zero article. (1) before a noun which is used as predicative, appositive or object to express the only post and rank, but sometimes definite article may be used, e.g., John is (the ) captain of the team. / As (the) chairman of the committee, I declare this meeting closed. / Bush, (the) president of the USA gave a lecture last Sunday. (2) among family members, e.g., Where is Father? / Mother was very pleased with my homework.

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Lecture 3 Determiners

English Grammar

(3) before plural countable nouns and uncountable nouns to mean a class of persons or things, e.g., Cigarettes are bad for your health. / Hydrogen is lighter than oxygen. / Water is very useful and precious. (4) when preposition by is before a traffic vehicle or a communication apparatus, zero article is used, e.g., to travel [leave, come, go] by bicycle [bus, car, boat, train, plane] to communicate by radio [telephone, post, satellite] We are going to travel by air. / Lets communicate by telephone. * cf. to travel by bus / to be on the bus / to take a [the] train (5) when at, by, after, before are before time in a day, zero article is needed, e.g., at dusk ( ) [dawn ( ), midnight, night, noon, sunrise, sunset, twilight ( fig.), daybreak ()] after dark [nightfall] / before morning came / by night [day] * cf. during the afternoon [day]/ in the morning [afternnon, evening, day time] (6) before season, month, or week, e.g., in spring [summer, autumn, winter] in January [February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December] on Sunday [Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday] * But if we refer to the definite season, or week, we use definite article, e.g., in the spring of 1979 / on the following Wednesday * Sometimes when we refer to some week, month or season, we use indefinite article, e.g., He left on a Friday. / He has been to Xinjiang in a December. / It was an unusually cold winter. (7) before a noun of a meal, e.g., to have breakfast / before lunch / after dinner / stay for supper / at breakfast / to have supper * But if we refer to some meal, we use indefinite article, e.g., It is a poor breakfast. / a rich supper We had a nice dinner. Thank you. *But if we refer to meal which is special or modified by an attributive clause, we use

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Lecture 3 Determiners

English Grammar

definite article, e.g., Are you going to the dinner that we are having in London next week? Ill never forget the supper which I had with him in that small inn two years ago. (8) before a noun of disease, e.g., appendicitis () / anaemia / anemia ( ) / influenza () / pneumonia (
)

(9) before ball games, chess games or language, e.g., to play volleyball [basketball, football, chess] / He speaks English. I speak Chinese. (10) before the lik verb turn meaning become, e.g., He turned thirf. (11) in some parallel phrases, e.g., arm in arm, face to face, hand in hand, day by day, eye to eye, side by side, time after time, husband and wife, heart and soul, from father to son, from hand to mouth () (12) in some idioms, e.g., at home, at last, at present, beyond reach of, in fact, in face of, in debt, in trouble, in turn, on foot, on top of, to catch fire, to set fire fire, on end They were at table ( ) when they called. / He was sitting at the table when I entered. A number of () people came to the meeting. / The number of chairs in the room is 20. There are some trees in front of the house (). / Hes sitting in the front of the car (
) with the driver.

In future ( ), be more careful with your money. / Who can tell what will happen in the future (). He was found in possession of ( ) dangerous drugs. / All the deeds were in the possession of () my solicitor (). Hes in prison. () / Hes in the prison. () () 4. articles before proper nouns 1) When the proper noun is composed of one word without the plural form s, zero article is used, e.g., Mary / China / New York 2) When the proper noun is composed of one word with the plural form s, definite article is used, e.g.,

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Lecture 3 Determiners

English Grammar

the Netherlands / the Himalayas ( )/ the Alps ( )/ the Philippines / the Euphrates ( ) * When the proper noun is composed of two or more than two words, and the first word is a common noun, an adjective or a numerial, definite article is used, e.g., the Peoples Republic of China / the National Peoples Congress the United States of America / the United Kingdom / the Palace Museum the University of Pennsylvania / the Friendship Store / the Peoples Daily the National Science Conference / the 11th Party Congress / the Persian Gulf the Atlantic Pact / the Indian Ocean / the Red Sea / the English Channel the Lake of Geneva / the Bay of Naples / the Cape of Good Hope * However, there are some exceptions, e.g., Lake Michigan / the Lake of Geneva Mount Tai / the Mount of Taihang Ape Cod () / the Cape of Good Hope * Before rivers and canals, definite article must be used, e.g., the Yangtze / the Songhua River / the Yellow River / the Nile () the Rhine ()/ the Danube ( ) the Panama () Canal / the Suez () Canal the Jinghang Canal () * There are differnces before festivals, e.g., Christmas / Independence Day ()/ Easter ()/ May Day National Day / New Years Day / Thanksgiving Day () *cf. the Spring Festival / the Lantern Festival () the Dragon Boat Festival () / the Mid-Autumn Festival * Sometimes indefinite article is used, e.g., He thought he was a Lei Feng. () A Li Ping was trying to contact you this morning.

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