Difference Between Articles and Determiners

The main difference between articles and determiners is that all three articles that exist in the English language are considered determiners, but not all determiners are articles.

An article is basically a word that we use to modify or describe a noun . An article precedes the noun and indicates whether a particular noun refers to something or not. In the English language, the function of a determiner is quite similar to the function of an article. We use a determiner to indicate something about a noun or to introduce a noun. However, there are several types of determinants in the English language. Articles are just one such group.

Key areas covered

1. What are articles - definition, features 2. What are determiners - definition, functions 3. Similarities between articles and determiners - overview of common features 4. Difference between articles and determiners - comparison of the main differences

key terms

Articles, determiners Difference Between Articles and Determination Means - Comparison Summary

What are articles

An article is basically a word that modifies or describes the noun. In general, an article comes before a noun. The main function of an article is to indicate whether or not it relates to something specific. Articles can therefore in a certain way be equated with determiners that tell us something about the noun.

There are two types of articles in the English language: definite articles and indefinite articles . 'The' is a specific article in the English language. It is used with both singular and plural nouns. Here the term "definitely" emphasizes the idea of ​​being specific and obvious about something. Hence, the basic function of a given article is to indicate that the noun is specific. For example:

The butterfly is on the lotus.

The frog jumped into the pond.

In contrast, there are two indefinite articles in English: 'a' and 'an'. We use indefinite articles to talk about nouns that are not specific or obvious. The term “indefinite” suggests that the identity of the person or thing being talked about remains unclear.

Do you have a colored pencil

I want a piece of cake.

In short, in the English language the indefinite article 'a' is used with singular nouns starting with a consonant sound, while 'an' is used before a singular noun starting with a vowel.

What are determiners?

In the English language, a determiner is a word that is used to introduce a noun or to give information about the amount of a noun. Similar to articles, determiners always come before nouns and come before all other adjectives that are used to describe the noun. Determinators usually come before a singular noun, but are optional for plural nouns.

There are four main types of determiners in the English language. They are articles, demonstratives, quantifiers, and possessives. The three articles 'a', 'an' and 'the' are some of the most commonly used determinants in the English language. The demonstratives 'this', 'that', 'this' and 'those' allow the speaker to point to the subject he is talking about, making the subject even more specific than a particular article.

Articles vs. Determiners

In addition, quantifiers such as “all”, “few” and “many” indicate how much the noun is being discussed, while possessive adjectives , including “my”, “your”, “his”, “her”, “it”, “Our” and “ihr” are used to show ownership when referring to a noun.

Similarities Between Articles and Determiners

  1. Both articles and determiners describe nouns in the English language.
  2. In addition, you can usually find articles and determiners before a noun.

Difference Between Articles and Determiners


Determinators are a group of words that we use to describe nouns. Articles are a sub-category that falls under the larger group of determinants.


There are four main types of determiners in the English language: demonstratives, articles, quantifiers and possessives, while there are two types of articles: definite articles and indefinite articles.


In short, the main difference between articles and determiners is that determiners are a group of words we use to describe nouns, while articles are a sub-category that falls under determiners. Simply put, in the English language, not all determiners are articles, but all articles are determiners .


1. Shrives, Craig. " Determiner | What is a determiner? "Grammar monster.

Image courtesy:

1. " EGG-Determiner " By Robbiemuffin - Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia  

About the author: Anuradha

Anuradha holds a BA in English, French and Translation Studies. She is currently studying English literature in a second language context in the master’s course. Her areas of interest include arts and literature, language and education, nature and animals, cultures and civilizations, food and fashion.