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Determiners: in-service training sessions


At initial level, training courses often consider quantifiers and articles but rarely much else.  At in-service level, people now need to get to grips with the entire closed class of determiners.  Elsewhere on the site, we simply refer to open and closed word classes, incidentally.

It is actually quite unlikely that people starting in-service training have ever given the area much organised thought, preferring to teach items as they arise or considering that the teaching of the determiner system in English is not something that needs to be addressed above quite low levels.
You know that's not true.


The key ideas

This serves as an introduction to determiners so does not focus in any great depth on any of the types.

Worksheets linked from this page concern:

  • Determiners
    • articles
    • demonstratives
    • interrogatives
    • possessives
    • quantifiers (and partitives)
  • Count and mass nouns
  • Determiner vs. pronoun

The notions of count and mass nouns pervade the area rather than being an explicit focus (that should already have been done).


Five types of determiner

This should be a reminder but it is not an area which is covered on all initial training courses.


Task 1 of the worksheet just asks people to identify the five sorts of determiner (listed above).  Example 12 is of the zero article.

Task 2 of the worksheet provides a list of determiners and alerts people to which ones can be used in assertive and non-assertive contexts with singular count, plural count or mass nouns.  It could take a little time.

Task 3 focuses only on quantifiers and now is a good time to discuss the difference between a few and a little vs. few and little.

Task 4 is on articles and the key is:

Task 5 asks people to show whether they can tell determiners from pronouns.  It's a brief awareness-raising task only.
Pre-determiners are not included in this worksheet and nor is consideration of determiner ordering.  The guides on the site could be used for that.


Related areas

The worksheets here cover only the basics of determiner use.

The areas linked below are guides to other areas into which you may choose to extend the analysis.

Related guides
determiners the main in-service guide
articles the main in-service guide
pre- and post-determiners this guide covers areas not considered above
A-Z index where you can find guides to or containing specific concepts and terms