French Determiners

Definition: A determiner is a noun modifier that expresses the reference of a noun or noun phrase in the context, including quantity, rather than attributes expressed by adjectives. Determiners include articles, demonstratives, possessive determiners, and quantifiers.

The grammatical term determiner refers to a word, either an article or a certain type of adjective, which introduces and simultaneously modifies a noun. Determiners, also known as non-qualifying adjectives, are much more common in French than in English - some sort of determiner is nearly always required in front of each noun used.

The main difference between a qualifying (descriptive) adjective and a non-qualifying adjective (determiner) has to do with usage: qualifying adjectives qualify or describe a noun, while non-qualifying adjectives introduce a noun and may determine or specify it at the same time.

Types of French Determiners:
  1. Articles

    1. Definite Articles
      Indicate a specific noun. le, la, les the


    2. Indefinite Articles
      Indefinite articles refer to an unspecified noun. un, une, des - a, an, some


    3. Partitive Articles
      Partitive articles indicate unknown quantity, usually of food or drink. du, de la, des - some

  2. Possessive Adjectives (Determiners)
  3. Demonstrative Adjectives (Determiners)
  4. Interrogative Adjectives (Determiners)
  5. Exclamative Adjectives (Determiners)
  6. Quantifiers



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