Spanish Lesson 15: Possessive Pronouns/ Adjectives

Possessive pronouns or Possessive Adjectives

 

According to Grammarly.com, Possessive Pronouns show that something belongs to someone. The possessive pronouns, in English, are my, our, your, his, her, its, and their.

Possessive pronouns simplify constructions that show possession of a noun.  For example:

*Peter enjoys reading Peter’s books.

It sounds odd to use Peter’s name twice in this sentence. A possessive pronoun solves the problem and helps the sentence to flow better.

*Peter enjoys reading his books.

In Spanish, the verb tener (to have) is used to express possession.  However, possession may also be expressed with possessive adjectives, which we will cover today.  Possessive adjectives show ownership (my books) or a relationship between people (my boyfriend).

Here is a list of Spanish and English possessive pronouns/ adjectives

Mi: my

Tu: your (informal); Tú: you (informal)

Su: His

Su: Her

Su: Your (formal); usted: you (formal)

Su: Its/ Their

Nuestro: Our; Nuestra: Our

When to use them?

The choice of pronoun depends on the possessor.

If the possessor/ owner is “me”: My is used = Mi

If the possessor/ owner is “you”: Your is used = Tu/ Su

Etc.

Note also that the possessive adjective, like other adjectives we studied in a previous lesson, agrees in number and sometimes gender with the thing that is possessed/ owned and not with the possessor.

My book = Mi libro

My (me) is singular and book is singular

My books = Mis libros

My is singular but ‘books’ is plural and so the possessive adjective agrees with the owned item it is describing.

Here are some more examples showing how possessive adjectives/ pronouns must agree with the noun in number

My friend Mi amigo My friends Mis amigos
His day Su día His days Sus días
Her city Su ciudad Her cities Sus ciudades
Your country Tu país Your countries Tus paises
Your date Su fecha Your dates Sus fechas
Their cat Su gato Their cats Sus gatos
Our age Nuestra edad Our ages Nuestras edades
Our desk Nuestro pupitre Our desks Nuestros pupitres

Our friend, Señor Jordan, has a great video to recap and explain this info.  Check out his video.

 

There is no ‘s in Spanish

On the topic of possession in Spanish, here’s an interesting and important note.  The ‘s  does NOT exist in Spanish!

In Spanish the apostrophe s (‘s) does NOT exist.

 

To show possession we use “de

Look at the following sentence:

Pablo’s backpack.

This sentence must be re-arranged as follows to REMOVE the (‘s):

The backpack of Pablo.

Note the insertion of the definite article “the”

Then it can be translated into Spanish

La mochila de Pablo.

More Examples:

  • Maria’s house: The house of Maria: La casa de Maria.
  • Pedro’s white pants: The white pants of Pedro: Los pantalones blancos de Pedro.
  • The newspaper is Rosita’s: The newspaper is of Rosita: El peridódico es de Rosita.
  • Colombia’s capital is Bogota: The capital of Colombia is Bogota: La capital de Colombia es Bogota.

 

Possessive Pronoun Practice Exercise

So, how do you feel about possessive adjectives/ pronouns now?  Do you understand why we use them? Do you understand how we use them?  Test your new skills now in this downloadable exercise:  Possessive pronoun exercise.

Try the exercise and let me know how you did, in the comments below!

 

 

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I’m a Latin American Studies teacher, teaching Latin American History and Politics and Basic Spanish. I love reading, writing, teaching and travelling. 

5 thoughts on “Spanish Lesson 15: Possessive Pronouns/ Adjectives

  1. “The ‘s does NOT exist in Spanish!
    In Spanish the apostrophe s (‘s) does NOT exist.” That is interesting! It’s one of those things I never really thought about/realized when I was learning Spanish in high school.

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