In grammatical theory, definiteness is a feature of noun phrases, distinguishing between entities that are specific and identifiable in a given context (definite noun phrases) and entities which are not (indefinite noun phrases).

There is considerable variation in the expression of definiteness across languages:

  • Some languages, e.g. English, use separate words called articles (e.g. the indefinite article a/an and the definite article the).
  • In other languages, the article is a clitic that attaches phonologically to the noun (and often to modifying adjectives), e.g. the Hebrew definite article ha- or the Arabic definite article al-.
  • In yet other languages, definiteness is indicated by affixes on the noun or on modifying adjectives, much like the expression of grammatical number and grammatical case. In these languages, the inflections indicating definiteness may be quite complex. In the Germanic languages and Balto-Slavic languages, for example (as still in modern German and Lithuanian), there are two entirely different paradigms for adjectives, one used in definite noun phrases and the other used in indefinite noun phrases.
  • In some languages, e.g. Hungarian, definiteness is marked on the verb.

Read more about DefiniteUse in Different Languages, Grammatical State

Other articles related to "definite":

Logarithmic Norm - Applications in Matrix Theory and Spectral Theory
... A matrix with is positive definite, and one with is negative definite ... The inverse of a negative definite matrix is bounded by Both the bounds on the inverse and on the eigenvalues hold irrespective of the choice of vector (matrix ...
Definite - Grammatical State
... have three values for grammatical state indefinite, definite and construct ... Indefinite and definite state function much as elsewhere ... The construct state is specifically used of a definite noun that is modified by another noun in a genitive construction ...
Macedonian Pronouns - Reflexive Pronouns
... Full Short Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite Indefinte Definite Indefinite Definite ...
Definite Description
... A definite description is a denoting phrase in the form of "the X" where X is a noun-phrase or a singular common noun ... The definite description is proper if X applies to a unique individual or object ... The definite descriptions "the person in space" and "the Senator from Ohio" are improper because the noun phrase X applies to more than one thing, and the definite descriptions "the first ...
Macedonian Pronouns - Possessive Pronouns
... Neuter Plural Short form indefinite definite indefinite definite indefinite definite indefinite definite Singular First ...

Famous quotes containing the word definite:

    ... life cannot be administered by definite rules and regulations; that wisdom to deal with a man’s difficulties comes only through some knowledge of his life and habits as a whole ...
    Jane Addams (1860–1935)

    Mathematics may be compared to a mill of exquisite workmanship, which grinds your stuff to any degree of fineness; but, nevertheless, what you get out depends on what you put in; and as the grandest mill in the world will not extract wheat flour from peascods, so pages of formulae will not get a definite result out of loose data.
    Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–1895)

    My talents fall within definite limitations. I am not as versatile an actress as some think.
    Greta Garbo (1905–1990)