I have heard the, a, and an referred to as both articles and determiners. Do these two terms mean the same thing, or are there some differences between them? Can a word be an article but not a determiner, and vice versa?
3If you accept the word class determiner/determinative, as most modern linguists do, a quick look at Wikipedia articles (other sense) shows that the articles form a subclass of determiners.– Edwin AshworthDec 10, 2014 at 20:24
1@Edwin: Even without getting too bogged down in "professional" terminology, most of us probably know that the/a are the definite/indefinite articles. And ordinary semantics suggests to me that this/that/those/these (which aren't "traditional" articles) determine which particular one we're talking about.– FumbleFingersDec 10, 2014 at 20:57
@FumbleFingers Wouldn't common sense also tell us that that's the function of the ans a too?– Araucaria - Not here any more.Dec 11, 2014 at 1:05
1Well, this/that/those/these also do double duty as demonstrative pronouns and can therefore standalone. Their physically demonstrative aspect sets them apart from the/an/a, which must precede a noun to function within a sentence. The two groups provide/indicate different types of information.– miltonautDec 11, 2014 at 4:18
1this is a pronoun when it's used by itself, e.g. this is the place. It's a determiner when it's used to qualify a noun, e.g. this car is red.– BarmarDec 12, 2014 at 2:36
In grammar determiner is the more general category:
- Grammar A modifying word that determines the kind of reference a noun or noun group has, for example a, the, every. See also article.
Wikipedia lists seven common types of determiners:
An article is one type of determiner.
Grammar A determiner (the in English) that introduces a noun phrase and implies that the thing mentioned has already been mentioned, or is common knowledge, or is about to be defined (as in the book on the table; the art of government; the famous public school in Berkshire).
Grammar A determiner (a and an in English) that introduces a noun phrase and implies that the thing referred to is non-specific (as in she bought me a book; government is an art; he went to a public school).
Typically, the indefinite article is used to introduce new concepts into a discourse.
In grammar, not all determiners are articles, but all articles are determiners.