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  • I have your many books.
  • I have many books of yours.
  • Those some people are about to come.
  • Some of those people are about to come.

I know that the 2nd version of each example is correct but I don't know if we can use the 1st version. Can we use two determiners together?

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    I have your many books is syntactically valid, but a bit weird. Natural contexts for this relatively formal / dated usage include, for example, I will say nothing about his many faults. Your second example Those some people are about to come is ungrammatical Commented Mar 18 at 18:34
  • @FumbleFingers can I get a reference so that I know the reason why it is wrong and don't make such mistakes in the future?
    – hwkal
    Commented Mar 18 at 19:20
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    I'm afraid I don't know of any clear-cut rule about why Those some people are here is "ungrammatical". Feasibly there s no such rule. But there's no doubt it's totally non-idiomatic (I think no native speaker does or ever did accept it). But Those few people came is certainly acceptable (again, much more "formal, dated" if preceded by those than if not). You may just have to learn which "determiners" can be "stacked" like this. All I know is My few friends came is acceptable (formal / dated), but My some friends came is a complete no-no. Commented Mar 18 at 19:33
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    And obviously some combinations are unacceptable on purely semantic grounds. These my friends are upset is "valid but uncommon", but His my friends are happy is just nonsense. Commented Mar 18 at 19:37
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    It seems to me that many (and few) is a quantifier rather than a deteminer, whereas some is a determiner. I haven't thought deeply about it, though.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Mar 18 at 19:55

2 Answers 2

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The first two examples are both grammatically fine but mean very different things:

"I have your many books".
means the person being spoken to has (written, presumably) many books, and the speaker has all of them..

"I have many books of yours".
means the speaker has many, but not all, of the other person's books.

Both of these work because 'many' can simply mean 'numerous' without the need for any frame of reference, but it can also mean a large number of a given set.

That isn't the case with 'some'. It can only mean an amount of something else. The phrase "those some people" is grammatically incorrect because it begins with a demonstrative pronoun ("those") which identifies a whole set, so you can't follow that with 'some'. That makes the first example in your second set wrong. You could say "those people" or "some people," depending on what you're trying to convey.

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  • can quantifiers (many, few, some, etc) be placed after other determiners (possessives, demonstratives, etc)? or it is only possible with some quantifiers?
    – hwkal
    Commented Mar 18 at 20:44
  • if I say I work with your some friends, would it be correct?
    – hwkal
    Commented Mar 18 at 20:52
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    @hwkal The point here is: "Many" can do this trick not because it's a quantifier, but because it has an extra meaning/usage as adjective. "Some" does not. "Few" does, but for some reason it doesn't try for this structure often. "I found your few errors" isn't wrong, but simply isn't really said. Commented Mar 18 at 21:28
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{possessive} many books can refer to books owned by, once owned by, written by, in the possession of, in the custody of, and so on. many is a synonym for numerous in this construction.

The shop's many books attract book lovers from all over the country.

Your many books will never fit in the trunk of my car. We should rent a small moving truck or we'll have to make multiple trips.

Her many books have delighted readers for decades.

The library has all of her many books.

The rare book library has all of his many books in a special collection. His copy of Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy is heavily annotated with penciled shorthand notes in the margins.

many books of {possessive} refers to a large subset of books owned by, once owned by, written by, in the possession of, in the custody of, etc:

Many books of theirs are on sale this month for half off.

Many books of his were written while his sight was failing.

Many books of yours are still on the truck.

Many books of hers have been acquired by the library and are kept on display in a special reading room in the rare books wing.

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