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The Numeral in English Grammar

Belonging to a closed class of words, determiners provide information such as familiarity, location, quantity, and number about a noun or noun phrase. Determiners differ in form and function from adjectives, which describe attributes of nouns and noun phrases. Similar to quantifiers, numerals are counting numbers such as one, two, three, and four that provide information about the amount of a word or phrase. Some grammars consider numerals as a subcategory of quantifiers.

Using Numerals

Like other determiners, numerals perform the grammatical function of determinative. Numerals indicate the number of quantity of another word or phrase. For example:

  • Two birds ate four cherries.
  • I have one child.
  • The merchant sold seven ripe yellow bananas.
  • The choir consists of 153 tone-deaf singing nuns.

Numerals may appear within determiner phrases. For example:

  • Six of the children failed the exam.
  • She enjoyed all four of the movies.
  • Pick out any three books.
  • We washed some of the 20 windows.

Numerals are counting numbers such as one, two, three, and four that provide information about the amount of a word or phrase.

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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