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All Noun Phrases (NPs) are quantifiers from a semantic point of view, that is, they have an interpretation that can be formalised with the aid of simple mathematical concepts. The application of such mathematical concepts to semantics is also called logic. The term quantifier may either refer to the NP as a whole, or to its determiner. Determiners are specific elements at the onset of NPs and they determine the quantificational character of NPs. Some NPs lack an overt determiner, such as proper names and geographical names. Proper names and some nouns closely related to them may have a vocative function. In addition, they may be used as nouns or pronouns of address. The class of determiners may be split into articles (this topic), and quantifiers proper. The group of articles consists of the indefinite article, the demonstrative article, the indefinite article and the negative article.

The definite and demonstrative articles share the property that they have irregular lexical forms for expressing number and gender distinctions, whereas quantifiers do not have irregular lexical forms for expressing number and gender. The indefinite article expresses a number distinction only, and it is zero in the plural. The negative article does not have that property. However, the negative article is included in the group of articles because it is similar in form to the indefinite article, and because it may replace the indefinite article in idioms. Nouns may be elided following articles.