Possessive adjectives in English

Possessive adjectives in English

When we are learning a new language we must know that the grammatical rules for the use of certain types of words are applied in different ways according to the language in which they are spoken. For example, adjectives have an enormous variety of classifications, and therefore, of ways to use them. That is why, on this occasion, you will learn what they are and how to use the possessive adjectives in English.


  • What are possessive adjectives in English?
  • List of possessive adjectives
  • What is the correct way to use them?
    • My = My
    • Your = You, your, yours
    • His = His, his, of him
    • Her = His, his, hers
    • Its = His, his, his (neuter)
    • Their = His, their, of them
    • Our: Our, ours
  • How to differentiate possessive adjectives in English and possessive pronouns?
  • Possessive adjectives exercises

What are possessive adjectives in English?

Possessive adjectives in English are words that are used when speaking or writing in order to refer to the owner of something. Normally they are ordered preceding the noun of the sentence and indicate that that something is the person being talked about.

It should be clarified that possessive adjectives are not the same possessive pronouns; because the latter replace the name of the person spoken in the sentence, since it is understood and it is not necessary to say it or repeat it.

On the other hand, possessive adjectives in the English language do not fulfill the function of substitutes; rather they are in charge of accompanying the pronouns. Example: This is my pencil. As you cánido see, the adjective “My” is used before a noun “pencil” to indicate possession.

These adjectives do not vary depending on the amount possessed, because in the case of saying “these are my pencils”, the possessive adjective in English “My” remains the same.

The words within this category in English not only espectáculo possession, they are also used to indicate kinship, friendship, work relationships or to mention a part of the body.

List of possessive adjectives

subject in the sentence possessive adjective to use Meaning in Spanish
Yo My My
you your You
I have his His, his or his
She Her His, his, or hers
Item its Yours
They their From them
We Our Ours

What is the correct way to use them?

My = My

This is the correct possessive adjective when speaking in the first person and saying that something belongs to us, is related to, or is part of us. It should not be confused with the possessive pronoun “Mine” (my) because it must be remembered that “mine” like the other pronouns of this type, never antecede the noun, since instead they replace it.

This is your problem not my problem (This is your problem, not my problem).

Your = You, your, yours

When you are talking to someone you have the need to mention that something belongs to him or is related to him, “your” is used for this. Something curious about this possessive adjective in English is that, unlike in Spanish, the treatment it is given does not change as it is applied both to say it in a personal way “you” or in a more formal way “you”.

your dog is very small (Your dog is very small)

His = His, his, of him

In English, there are words that are appropriate to use as long as the gender rules are strictly followed. For example, “his” indicates that the person we are accrediting as possessing something is of the masculine gender.

This is his blue car. (This is his blue car)

Her = His, his, hers

This adjective has been the feminine form of the previous one. Which means that it is applied when the owner of what is being talked about is a woman.

Her lipstick is nice

Its = His, his, his (neuter)

The use of this word occurs in cases where the owner of what is spoken of is a thing, animal, place or a baby. It is a neutral adjective, therefore it is applied without distinction of gender.

The dog is in its little house (The dog is in his house)

Their = His, their, of them

When it is no longer a question of a possessor, but rather a group of people, that is when “their” is used as an adjective.

What’s the color of their house? (What is the color of your house?)

Our: Our, ours

In this case, the adjective is also used when we are going to refer to a group of people as possessors. The only difference with the previous adjective is that in this case we are also including ourselves.

This is our home (This is our house)

How to differentiate possessive adjectives in English and possessive pronouns?

For those who start their fantastic process of learning English, this situation of possessive pronouns and adjectives is possibly one of the most confusing topics. However, there are a number of things to remember to learn to differentiate one from the other:

  • Possessive pronouns do not antecede a noun. Instead, adjectives do.
  • An adjective does not replace the noun or the thing possessed; the pronouns if they are used as substitutes and it is not necessary to name the possession because it is understood what is being talked about.
  • Sometimes adjectives also replace the possessed object.

Possessive adjectives exercises

Write the possessive adjective in English that corresponds to each case.

  1. Where is ________ mother? (Subject “I”)
  2. This is _____ pencil (Subject you)
  3. I Like _____ shoes
  4. _____ Our house is very small (Subject We)
  5. ____ computer is better than mine (Subject You)
  6. Anna has a bike, but ____ very old.
  7. Jenny coming by car. That’s ___ car.

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