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Grammatical Forms of English Determiner Phrases

A determiner phrase is a phrase in which at least one determiner functions as the head of the phrase plus any additional determiners or p-words functioning as particles. The two grammatical forms that appear within the internal structure of English determiner phrases are:

  1. Determiners
  2. P-words

Determiner phrases may consist of two or more determiners plus a p-word. Determiner phrases perform the grammatical function of determinative.

Forms of Determiner Phrases

The first form of determiner phrase is the determiner phrase consisting of two determiners. For example:

  • all six astronauts (quantifier + numeral)
  • all the frogs (quantifier + article)
  • the two children (article + numeral)
  • these 24 sodas (demonstrative determiner + numeral)
  • the many obstacles (article + quantifier)
  • her many problems (possessive determiner + quantifier)
  • which four books (interrogative determiner + numeral)
  • whose three socks (possessive interrogative determiner + numeral)

The second form of determiner phrase is the determiner phrase consisting two determiners and a p-word. For example:

  • many of the counties (quantifier + p-word + article)
  • all of her knitting (quantifier + p-word + possessive determiner)
  • two of a kind (numeral + p-word + article)
  • seven of his grandchildren (numeral + p-word + possessive determiner)

The third form of determiner phrase is the determiner phrase consisting of three determiners. For example:

  • all her many accomplishments (quantifier + possessive determiner + quantifier)
  • all the many layers (quantifier + article + quantifier)
  • all these many difficulties (quantifier + demonstrative determiner + quantifier)

The fourth form of determiner phrase is the determiner phrase consisting of three determiners and a p-word. For example:

  • all of the twenty soldier (quantifier + p-word + article + numeral)
  • half of her thirty-two relatives (quantifier + p-word + possessive determiner + numeral)
  • some of these 75 choices (quantifier + p-word + demonstrative determiner + numeral)
  • nine of those dozen cookies (numeral + p-word + demonstrative determiner + quantifier)

Other combinations of determiners and p-words are also possible in forming determiner phrases in English.

Determiner Phrase Grammar Tree

Determiner phrases are phrases in which at least one determiner functions as the head of the phrase plus any additional determiners or p-words functioning as particles.

References

Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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