We all know what nouns and verbs are. They are the core units of grammar that help us form complete sentences. However, another unit in English grammar is equally important to learn to produce complete and precise sentences. They are the determiners.
Determiners are basically words that are present before a noun phrase. They are the words that help indicate which thing you are referring to and whether you are referring to a single or many things. They are words like the, this, that, you, an, a, etc.
However, determiners can be grouped into two main parts, the general and the specific. Today, we are going to focus on the latter part, the specific determiners. They are the words that refer to something specific. They have particular word choices and functions that we will discuss below.
What are specific determiners?
Determiners are clarifying words that give the reader information about the noun. In a very general sense, they tell us whether a noun phrase is specific or general. When a determiner performs the latter function of denoting a specific or particular thing, it is said to be a specific determiner.
In simple words, specific determiners are the type of determiners that we use to refer to something specific. When we use a specific determiner in a sentence, we believe that the reader or the listener knows exactly what we are referring to.
Specific determiner includes words such as;
- Definite article: the
- Possessive pronoun: his, its, her, your, our, their, my, whose, etc.
- Demonstratives: this, that, these, those, etc.
Let us look at some examples.
- Please, pass me the book.
- I am very excited to go to your wedding.
- These flowers are the best in the garden.
- Whose book are you reading?
- I saw the man.
- These grapes look very fresh.
As we can see, the bolded words refer to something specific, making readers aware of exactly what one is referring to. Hence, they are called specific determiners.
Difference between specific determiners and general determiners
In order to identify a specific determiner, it is necessary to know the other form called the general determiners.
General determiners are words like an/a, many, any, other, etc. It means they refer to something in general. They can be anything or anyone. But specific determiners are words like the, this, that, my, your, etc. They try to refer to a particular thing that the reader knows of.
Thus, when there is a word before a noun phrase that has a general nature and does not specifically mention whose or which thing it is, they cannot be specific determiners. Specific determiners are those that exactly describe which, what, or whose.
Let us understand with an example.
Many dogs were running last night.
It is a general determiner because it has no specification as to which or whose dog.
My dog wouldn’t stop running last night.
It is a specific determiner because it describes exactly whose dog was running.
Thus, specific determiners are a core part of English grammar that helps us convey our thoughts precisely.