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Grammar, syntax, and morphology, are among the most fascinating aspects of language. And, every student of language, regardless if they are studying Russian or Chinese, has a story to tell about the complexities of using Determiners. However, there’s no need to stress, there are a few simple rules to make them easy and fun.

Firstly, the student must understand the difference between Countable and Uncountable Nouns.  

Simply, a Countable Noun is an object, like people, that can be counted. For example, “There is a boy in the classroom.” This sentence tells us that there’s one young man waiting for his teacher in the schoolroom. Just to be clear: 

a = one

Uncountable Nouns are substances and concepts that can’t be divided into separate elements. For example, one can’t count love, happiness, oxygen, rice, and electricity… The list goes on and on.

Today our focus is singular Count Nouns. 

Which Determiner should I use? What should I do if I find “a” and “an” confusing?

Students are too often confused by “a” and “an.” But, the solution is simple. If a Count Noun begins with a vowel, use “an.” For example: 

an apple

an elephant 

But if the Noun begins with a consonant, use “a.” Here are a couple of examples: 

a xylophone 

a car

Other Determiners used with Countable Nouns

What some other Determiners I can use with Countable Nouns? There are many other Determiners that may be used with Countable Nouns. Usually, they describe the quantity of the Noun. Here is a shortlist of such words:

Each teacher has an apple.

May I have another piece of cake? 

Every night the Moon rises.  

Neither snow nor rain stops the mail. 

You can choose either prize. 

One day I will be a famous Writer. 

Examples of Determiners

Todd searched every store for the shoes he wanted.

This is a useful book for people who like camping. 

Let’s practice 

Q1: Try making your own sentence.

Q2: How much time do you spend camping each day? Do you think it’s enough? 

Q3: Is there one wish that you hope will be fulfilled one day? What is it?

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