In the previous High English quiz we learnt about determiners and, more particularly, about the definite article 'the' and the indefinite article 'a'. It is interesting to note that the most used word in the English language is the definite article ‘the’. The speaker or writer can refer to nouns using an indefinite article or a definite article depending on whether he is talking about things which the listener or reader knows or does not know. Thus, when you are talking about specific things ‘the’ is employed and when you are talking about general things ‘a’ or ‘an’ is used. In this quiz we look at demonstrative and possessive determiners.
While articles are determiners there are other types of determiners which help to modify nouns. Look at these two sentences:
‘This cycle is mine.’
‘This is my cycle’.
In these sentences the words, ‘this’ and ‘my’ preceding the noun ‘cycle’ are known as determiners. More specifically, ‘this’ in the first sentence belongs to a class of determiners known as DEMONSTRATIVES. 'This, that, these' and 'those' are all demonstrative determiners. It is to be noted that a frame of reference understood by both the writer and speaker is required for the use of demonstrative determiners so that the writer and reader are able to communicate effectively. ‘My’ in the second sentence belongs to a class known as POSSESSIVES. 'My, your, his, her, its, our', and 'their' are possessive determiners. Possessives are used when referring to an entity that belongs to another.
Determiners are used to express a close relationship or a quantity or closeness or definiteness. Determiners are also used to demonstrate something or define someone besides stating differences between nouns. It may be noted that determiners should not be confused with adjectives as there are several differences. For instance, determiners are almost always required in a sentence whereas adjectives are not. Determiners are not gradable whereas adjectives are.
The quiz that follows exposes you to the nuances of possessive and demonstrative determiners.