What type of word is "certain"? As in the sentence:

"John wants to own a certain piano which used to belong to a famous pianist."

I have looked for some information. It tends to be classified as an adjective.

However, it seems to me that it is more an indefinite quantifier, but I am not sure.

Thank you so much for your help!

  • This doesn't really answer your question, but is the word certain even necessary in this case? You could just write "John wants to own a piano that used to belong to a famous pianist." – David Blomstrom Nov 20 '15 at 3:11
  • @DavidBlomstrom Since there's no comma after piano, the relative clause is restrictive. Apparently the famous musician owned several pianos, and John is interested only in a particular one. – deadrat Nov 20 '15 at 3:19
  • Latin quidam (=a certain) is both indefinite pronoun and adjective. – Hugh Nov 20 '15 at 3:32
  • I'd say adjective. It's a synonym for "particular, individual, special" etc., which are adjectives. – ralph.m Nov 20 '15 at 3:59
  • 1
    @DavidBlomstrom Alas, reviewing rules for commas won't help very much. Review the rules for restrictive and non-restrictive clauses. – deadrat Nov 22 '15 at 3:03

Certain here is a determiner. It supplies a reference to its associated noun without providing a description or modification.

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