Determiner Phrase

Determiner Phrase

A determiner phrase (DP) is a grammatical unit in linguistics that consists of a determiner and its associated noun or noun phrase. Determiners are words like “the,” “a,” “some,” “these,” “those,” “my,” “your,” “his,” “her,” “its,” “our,” and “their.” They provide information about the noun, such as its definiteness (whether it is specific or not), quantity, and possession.


Here are some examples of determiner phrases:

  • The book is on the table. (definite article “the” with noun “book”)
  • I need a new pen. (indefinite article “a” with noun “pen”)
  • Let’s eat some pizza. (quantifier “some” with noun “pizza”)
  • These shoes are comfortable. (demonstrative pronoun “these” with noun “shoes”)
  • My car is parked outside. (possessive pronoun “my” with noun “car”)
Complex Determiner Phrase:

 Complex DPs can include adjectives, other noun phrases, and prepositional phrases, as in the following examples:

  • The red book on the table is mine. (complex DP with adjective “red” and prepositional phrase “on the table”)
  • The book that I gave you is your favorite. (complex DP with relative clause “that I gave you”)
  • The house with the blue shutters is for sale. (complex DP with prepositional phrase “with the blue shutters”)

The concept of DPs is important in syntax, the study of how words are combined into sentences. DPs are often treated as the heads of noun phrases (NPs), which are larger units that can also include modifiers such as adjectives and prepositional phrases.

Important Points:

So, here are some additional things to keep in mind about Determiner Phrase:

  • DPs can be recursive, meaning that they can contain other DPs inside them. For example, the DP “the book that I gave you” contains the DP “the book.”
  • The order of determiners within a DP can be important. For example, in English, the possessive pronoun usually comes before the demonstrative pronoun, so we would say “my these shoes” rather than “these my shoes.”
  • The choice of determiner can affect the meaning of a sentence. For example, the sentence “The dog bit the man” implies that there is a specific dog and man that are being referred to, while the sentence “A dog bit the man” is more general.
For more such posts visit: