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Basic English Grammar
Tanggal Terbit: February 10, 2010

DETERMINER or MODIFIER


Study this following examples:

1.My books are on the table.
2.My pretty goes for a picnic today.

In sentence one, the phrase /my books/ is constructed from the possessive pronoun /my/ and noun /books/.In sentence two, the use of /my/ doesn't match with the adjective /pretty/. The reason is possessive adjectives only used for noun or noun phrase. On the other hand, the existance of /pretty/ in sentence two is false or word selection is not right. Here, /my/ is called "determiner".

There are many kinds of determiners in English Grammar. Let me say that every elements of a sentence can be a determiner.

Kinds of Determiners:

1. Possessive Adjective
2. Adverb of Quantity
3. Adverb of Quality
4. Auxilliary
5. Affix
6. Adverb of Time
7. Articles
, etc


Possessive Adjective As a Determiner

To know what kinds of words (in part of speech) will be selected to use in a sentence, sometimes, makes us dizzy and difficult. To reduce the difficulties, we can learn the determiner of a word.

All possessive adjectives can be determiners. Here's the possessive adjective,

/My/
/Your/
/our/
/their/
/his/
/her/
/its/


When one of the possessive adjectives above is being used, then we have to place noun or noun phrase after that.


For examples :

They found their rights in America. (/rights/ is a noun)
They found their true rights in America. (/true rights/ is a noun phrase)

The word /their/ determines what kind of words will be used or placed. In this case, the correct word is a noun, that is, /rights/.

That will be confusing even hard to understand when we say, for example;

They found their true in America. (This will appear a confused question like, What 'true'?)

Adverb of Quantity As a Determiner

/some/,/any/,/many/,/several/,/all/,/few/, or,/a little/, etc is some of the adverb of quantities in English language. Those adverb can not stand alone. Therefore, they need a noun or noun phrase to go and 'to live', except, when they position as an indefinite pronoun (like, all has been registered in the registration book.).

For examples:

Many people denied the result of annually congress held by Mr.Begatui Njelantui.
Only few students are active in School competition in Lampung.
They should submit some documents to apply a job.
They don't need any help from everyone.

In the examples above, we can learn that the adverb of quantity is used to be a 'partner' of a noun or a noun phrase.

Adverb of Quality As a Deteminer

The position and the function of Adverb of Quality in use is similar to possessive adjectives.

For examples:

I am very sorry.
They are so beautiful.
What they've done is too cruel.

Take notice that the word /very/,/so/ or /too/ needs to be placed with an adjective.


Auxilliary As a Determiner

There are many kinds and types of Auxilliaries in English, like /does/,/do/,/did/,/be used to/,/should/,/can/,/have/,/has/,/will/,/might/, etc. Those can be used as determiners of what types of patterns of sentences or even tenses are being used.

For examples:

She doesn't know what to do.

The word /doesn't/ is an auxilliary which is being used in negative verbal Simple Present Tense. In other words, we can say that, The auxilliary /doesn't/ determines Simple Present Tense in Verbal Sentence.

Take notice that, without the determiner existance, we will get difficulties in comprehending one sentence we find, like:

I cut my hair.

The sentence above is not complete yet. Although the sentence has been qualified in pattern structure. Why?

The verb /cut/, here, is 'general'. Because the verb has similiar form in the Irregular verb.

Present-Verb (v1)            => cut
Past-form-Verb (v2)        => cut
Past Participle (v3)           => cut

We will not find difficult when the verb used like this below.

I heard the sound at that night.

The verb /heard/ has been clear and understandable enough. The first verb of /heard/ is /hear/. Therefore, we can say that the sentence is in Simple Past Tense.

Affix As a Determiner

Not all Affixes can be a determiner but few of them like, /-s/ or /-es/, /-ed/ or /-d/, etc.

Foe examples:

She wanted to go there.

The verb /wanted/ has a suffix /-ed/. /-ed/ is a character of Past-form-verb of the verb which is used in Simple Past Tense and in Verbal Sentence.

Study this following carefully!

The man has been died.

When the suffix appears in a sentence, like above, we can't automatically accuse that the word or the verb /died/ is in past-form-verb. The solution is to look into the pattern. By checking the determiner of /have/, and the formations (Have + verb-III). we should know that the verb is in verb-III or Past Participle. Therefore, we have to know exactly about other determiners when they appear in a sentence to conclude of what verb in being used.
Those description above will be different of the suffix /-ing/. Because, /-ing/ has double explanation or discussion that can not be accused in one conclusion. Why?

The suffix /-ing/ or the /-ing/ form verb has two discussions in English. They are:

1. /-Ing/ as a present participle.
2. /-Ing/ as a gerund.


Here, a present participle is used in progressive/continuous tense. And, that will be different of /-ing/ as a gerund.

For examples:

1. I am writing a short story.
2. My hobby is writing a short story.

In sentence one, /writing/ is in Progressive tense (Present Continuous Tense). But, In sentence two, /writing/ is as a gerund or noun (click here to go to the gerund in details).


Try to compare these phrases below!

1. Singing bird
2. Walking stick


In (1), /singing/ is present participle and in (2), /walking/ is Gerund. So, How do we make different of them?

The solution is to change each phrases into a sentence, like:

1. The bird is singing.
2. The stick is walking.


The question is : Is it possible for the stick to walk by itself? (I think the answer has already been clear enough, right?).

Adverb of Time As a Determiner

There are many kinds and types of Adverb of Time in English. Most of them are used based on the tenses, like:

I help my parent every day.
She called me last night.

/every day/ and /last night/ are called "Adverb of Time". They are placed in certain tenses. Here, /every day/ is used to describe regularly activities or habitual actions which tends to direct it into simple present tense. And, /last night/ is spesifically used in Simple Past tense.

Articles As a Determiner

There are three kinds of articles, they are /a/,/an/ and /the/. All of the articles are used to be a 'partner' of a noun or a noun phrase.

For examples:

A cat died.
She picked an apple behind the house.
The right time to do the duty is now.


Determiner Vs. Modifier

Determiner, here, means to see or to make something a signal of a usage or a function. But, a modifier is to modify other words like,

She is a smart student.

The word /smart/ (adjective) is to modify the word /student/ (noun). Let me say that /smart/ is not a determiner of noun. Because, In one case, adjective like /smart/ can stand alone in one sentence, like :

Study and compare these below carefully!

She is a student.
She is smart.
----------------------
She is a smart Student.

Are they fine or not? (guess by yourself!)

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