Definition: Nouns are often preceded by the words “the”, “a”, or “an”. These words are called “determiners”. They indicate the kind of reference which the noun has. The determiner “the” is known as the “definite article”. It is used before both singular and plural nouns. The determiner “a” (or “an”, when the following noun begins with a vowel) is the “indefinite article”. It is used when the noun is singular. Determiners are used in front of nouns to indicate whether you are referring to something specific or something of a particular type.
You use a “specific determiner” when people know exactly which thing(s) or person/people you are talking about.
The specific determiners are:
The definite article : the
Demonstratives : this, that, these, those
Possessives : my, your, his, her, its, our, their
The dog barked at the boy.
These apples are rotten.
Their bus was late.
You use “general determiners” to talk about people or things without saying exactly who or what they are.
The general determiners are: the indefinite articles : a, an
a few, a little, all, another, any both, each, either, enough, every few, fewer, less, little, many, more, most, much, neither, no, other, several, some.
A man sat under an umbrella.
Have you got any English books that I could have?
There is enough food to feed everyone.