Possessive Adjectives and Pronouns (“Adjetivos y Pronombres Posesivos”) are a collection of words which express who owns something. They are the equivalent of the English words “my, mine”, “your, yours”, “his”, etc.
In this topic we will present two sets of words: short-form and long-form. We must use one or the other depending on the position the word occupies within the sentence.
Clarification: What we mean with masculine-feminine, singular-plural forms
For this topic, whenever we use the concepts masculine-feminine, singular-plural, we are always referring to the owned thing, not to the person who owns it. It is to the owned thing that you have to match the gender and number of the possessive word.
With that in mind, let’s start with the short forms.
Possessive Adjectives – Short Forms
Here is the list:
English Singular Plural
my mi mis
your (of you guy) tu tus
our nuestro, nuestra nuestros, nuestras
your (of you guys) vuestro, vuestra vuestros, vuestras
his, her, their, polite your su sus
Two important points about the Short Forms:
- We need to always match the short form to the number of the owned thing, but we don’t need to pay attention to the gender except for the forms “nuestro” and “vuestro”, which do have masculine and feminine variations, as we see in the table.
- “Su” is the Spanish translation of all these: “his”, “her”, “their” and the polite “your”. That means if we say “su perro” without giving any other information or context, people wouldn’t know if we mean “his dog”, “her dog”, “their dog” or a polite “your dog”.
Uses of the Short Forms
The short forms are the ones we can place directly before a noun (the owned thing).
Mi camiseta es azul = My t-shirt is blue.
Su coche es alemán = His/her/their/ your (polite) car is german.
Nuestras vecinas tienen un perro = Our neighbors (female neighbors) have a dog.
Possessive Adjectives – Long Forms
Here is the list:
English Masculine Singular Masculine Plural Feminine Singular Feminine Plural
mine mío míos mía mías
yours (of you guy) tuyo tuyos tuya tuyas
ours nuestro nuestros nuestra nuestras
yours (of you guys) vuestro vuestros vuestra vuestras
his, her, theirs, polite yours suyo suyos suya suyas
- When using the long forms, you always need to match BOTH the number and the gender of the noun (the owned thing).
When do we use the Long Forms?
The long forms are the ones we can place anywhere in the sentence, EXCEPT directly before the noun (the owned thing).
La camiseta es mía = The t-shirt is mine.
El coche es suyo = The car belongs to him/her/them/ you (polite).
Las gafas son nuestras = the glasses belong to us.
Possessive Pronouns – Always Long Forms!
The possessive pronouns are the long forms we have already seen. What makes them pronouns is that they are placed after a definite article (“el – la – los – las”). In that case, they work as full substitutes of the related noun.
El mío es verde = Mine is green. (“mine” is substituting a substantive, for example, “my notebook”).
Mi impresora es más moderna que la tuya = My printer is bigger than yours. (here, “yours” = your printer)