I asked a previous question related to this one about parts of speech. I need to figure out what a determiner (DT) is in Penn Treebank Tag Set. In the set examples found in the tag set, it appears that a determiner is a mixture of articles and adjectives. For my purposes articles and adjectives need to be separated.

Is a determiner in the Penn Treebank Tag Set considered just articles or a mixture of articles and adjectives?


1 Answer 1


The guide posted on the Penn Treebank website describes determiners as follows:


This category includes the articles a(n), every, no and the, the indefinite determiners another, any and some, each, either (as in either way), neither (as in neither decision), that, these, this and those, and instances of all and both when they do not precede a determiner or possessive pronoun (as in all roads or both times). (Instances of all or both that do precede a determiner or possessive pronoun are tagged as predeterminers (PDT).) Since any noun phrase can contain at most one determiner, the fact that such can occur together with a determiner (as in the only such case) means that it should be tagged as an adjective (JJ), unless it precedes a determiner, as in such a good time, in which case it is a predeterminer (PDT).

In simple phrase structure grammars based on English a singular common noun phrase, or a plural definite noun phrase, must consist at least of a determiner, and a head nominal, in that order. Formalised gramars of the sort found in Treebank define word classes on a language-specific basis, by distributional criteria (i.e., which words can substitute for other words in comparable structures). In typology (and also school grammar), word classes are based on meanings, so there will be some words which might belong to different categories depending on the approach.

  • That's for computational linguistics, where the POS set is much larger than in traditional linguistics, where "determiner" is a projective category that can also include quantifiers and complex phrases like quite a few of the, what I would consider to be a large number of the, etc.
    – jlawler
    Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 17:06

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