It seems to me a fairly high proportion of questions on ELU that are concerned with determiners (a, the, some, any, my, its, this, that, etc.) are from non-native speakers asking things like "Which one do I use?", or "What does that refer to?".

There's no such tag yet on ELL. Apparently I already have enough rep to just go ahead and create one, but I'd like to know whether it would be considered useful, given most examples probably have more specific tags anyway (definite/indefinite article, possessive pronoun, etc).

  • Would someone learning English know to use this tag when they ask their question? Sure someone can come along later and add it, but is anyone going to filter by this tag?
    – Tom Medley
    Feb 1, 2013 at 15:08
  • 1
    @Tom: I don't know much about ESL issues, but Googling esl determiners finds a lot of links. Anyway, I doubt many questioners will be making extensive use of tags - they're likely to be more relevant to the site experts as they start to emerge. Feb 1, 2013 at 15:27

2 Answers 2


I believe that determiner is a very useful term. Since I first encountered it on ELU I have found that it has sharpened my sense of how, inter alia, articles are used. I think we would be doing a service to our audience by introducing and encouraging its use.

  • I myself incline to this view. In context, I could probably have worked out what a determiner was before I came to ELU, but only since then have I become sufficiently familiar with it to actually use the term myself. It is useful, and I get the impression many learners are much more aware of what it means than I was a couple of years ago. Anyway, we've now got kiamlaluno's answer taking the opposite view, so even if nothing further arises by way of answers/comments/discussion, we can just see how the votes shape up over a day or two. Feb 1, 2013 at 18:51

Considering there are other tags that already apply, I would say that having is not a primary need.

Looking at how tags are used on EL&U, I would say that "determiners" is not constantly used, there. In fact, on EL&U there are 55 questions using determiners, but 264 questions tagged articles, 128 questions tagged definite-article, 41 questions tagged pronouns possessive. On ELL, I would expect the tag to be used even less constantly.

  • 1
    I'm not sure if by not constantly used you mean rarely used, or inconsistently applied. I note that of the 55 tagged questions, 35 of them are for this year - which might suggest that it's filling a long-standing gap, and will become much more common in future. Feb 1, 2013 at 18:55
  • The 264 questions tagged "articles" have not been asked all this year. If the tag has been used for 55 questions out of all the questions that could have used it, I guess it means the tag is not constantly used: Somebody uses it, somebody doesn't use it.
    – apaderno
    Feb 1, 2013 at 19:27

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