Possessive adjectives and pronouns

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Possessive adjectives and pronouns are a type of personal adjective or pronoun. Possessive adjectives and pronouns identify who possesses something. Possessive pronouns are pronouns that simultaneously stand in place of a possessed noun and identify the possessor.

The following chart shows all of the Spanish possessive adjectives and pronouns.

Possessive Adjectives (Adj) and Pronouns (Pro)
PersonEnglishSpanish
AdjProBefore noun (adj)After noun (adj) & Pronoun
SingPluSingularPlural
MascFemMascFem
1Singmyminemimismíomíamíosmías
Pluourours(same as after noun)nuestronuestranuestrosnuestras
2 famSingyouryourstutustuyotuyatuyostuyas
Plu(same as after noun)vuestrovuestravuestrosvuestras
2 forSingsusussuyosuyasuyossuyas
Plu
3Singhis, her, itshis, hers, its
Plutheirtheirs

Possessive adjectives and pronouns are unusual compared to other adjectives and pronouns because their stems always agree in both person and number with the possessor while the endings always agree in both gender and number with the thing possessed.

The chart shows two forms for most possessive adjectives and pronouns:

  • Short form possessive adjectives, which are used only before nouns.
  • Full form possessive adjectves and pronouns; as adjectives these are the only forms that can follow nouns.

The 1st-person plural and 2nd-person plural do not have short forms; one uses the full forms before nouns.

The short forms for 1st-person singular, 2nd-person singular, and 3rd-person singular and plural are used only before nouns, while the corresponding full forms are used only after nouns. Only the long forms are also used as pronouns.

The third-person possessive adjectives and pronouns su, suyo, suya, sus, suyos and suyas can often be ambiguous if the context does not provide a clear idea of who the possessor is. It is very common to replace these adjectives with a prespositional phrase following the noun that consists of the preposition "de" followed by the approprivate prepositional object pronoun: de él, de ella, de usted, de ellos, de ellas and de ustedes are always valid alternatives.

Examples:

  • mi libro, el/un libro mío = my book, el mío = mine
  • mis plumas, las/unas plumas mías = my pens, las mías = mine
  • nuestros hijos, los/unos hijos nuestros = our sons/children, los nuestros = ours
  • nuestra gata, la/una gata nuestra = our cat, la nuestra = ours
  • tu perro, el/un perro tuyo = your dog, el tuyo = yours
  • tus revistas, las/unas revistas tuyas = your magazines, las tuyas = yours
  • vuestros zapatos, los/unos zapatos vuestros = your shoes, los vuestros = yours
  • vuestra casa, la/una casa vuestra = your house/home, la vuestra = yours
  • su libro, el libro suyo = your/his/her/their book, el suyo = yours/his/hers/theirs, de usted, de ustedes = yours, de él = his, de ella = hers, de ellos, de ellas = theirs