Basic English Grammar
Tanggal Terbit: February 10, 2010


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,


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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