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Order of Determiners

There are rules about the order of determiners in a noun phrase.

1. It's possible to have NO determiner: John likes dogs. People breathe air. Wine is alcohol. This is the so-called "zero determiner", and is mainly possible with proper nouns (ie names), plural countable nouns and uncountable nouns.

2. All determiners, when present, come at the BEGINNING of a noun phrase (before any adjectives): the big black dog / my favourite car

3. If you have a "main determiner", you can have only ONE. The main determiners are:

So if you have an article, you cannot also have a demonstrative. If you have a possessive, you cannot also have an article. You can have one article OR one demonstrative OR one possessive. For example, you can say "this dog" or "my dog", but you cannot say "this my dog". The table below shows how the main determiners "mutually exclude" each other:

noun phrase
main determiners  
articles demonstratives possessives  
a     dog
the     soup
  this   flower
  those   birds
    my sister
    their car

4. Some determiners function as "pre-determiners" — they can come BEFORE a main determiner. You can have ONE pre-determiner: all the right people / half my weight

5. Other determiners function as "post-determiners" — they can come AFTER a main determiner. You can have ONE OR MORE post-determiners: the next time / my first two jobs

6. If you do have more than one determiner, the table below is a guide to the normal order. Remember, this is a guide only. Not every combination is possible.

you can have up to  
one of these + one of these + one or more of these  
pre-deter-
miners
main determiners post-determiners  
quant-
ifiers
art-
icles
demon-
stratives
posses-
sives
ordinals cardinals, other quant-
ifiers
 
all, both
half, one-third
double, twice, ten times
a/
an/
the
this/that
these/
those
my/her etc first/
second...
last/next
one/two...
many/
much
more/
most
few/little
less/least
several
other
 
all   those   last few dollars
both     my     younger sisters
three times     your     salary
  a       little more red wine
  an-       -other drink
  the       most money
  the     next three weeks
    these   first three seats
      my last   wife
      her next two husbands
          four more people
          several other friends

More about determiners