A new dashboard design, including multiple buttons, ...

Dictionaries I've looked in only list "multiple" as an adjective. It makes sense to me that in the above sentence, it could be syntactically an adjective, because I can easily replace it with other adjectives "including green buttons" etc., but I could also replace it with certain determinatives like "two", "some", "these", without it becoming ungrammatical.

Furthermore it seems to tick the boxes as far as I can see of other quantifier determinatives, always seemingly interchangeable with "several" for example, which dictionaries do tell me can function as a determiner.

How can I disambiguate whether an adjectival/determiner-positioned word in a NP is a determiner or an adjective?

1 Answer 1


Determiners, as a rule, can't stack.

*the some buttons
*the my buttons
the large buttons
the multiple buttons

  • 1
    Do you mean as a rule of thumb or as a pretty much ultimate rule?
    – minseong
    Oct 28, 2022 at 20:12
  • 2
    @theonlygusti In English, it's generally taken as a universal rule. Anything which breaks the rule is some other category instead of a determiner. But the "generally" is still included because there are dozens and dozens of different ways to analyze English syntax, and this isn't true for all of them.
    – Draconis
    Oct 28, 2022 at 20:52
  • Well, they can stack if you have enough of the right kind of lego pieces to hold them together: each (one) of the plates, every *(one) of the boys, some of the buttons.
    – jlawler
    Oct 29, 2022 at 13:59
  • Is this more so a test for determinative-hood (lexical category) rather than its purpose in the sentence? "A new dashboard design, including some/those buttons" sounds grammatical to me
    – minseong
    Oct 30, 2022 at 16:03

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