Welcome to our grammar lesson about Spanish Possessive Adjectives and Pronouns.
Possessive Adjectives and Pronouns are a collection of words which express possession or belonging (who owns something). They are equivalent to English words “my, mine, your, yours, his, etc”.
In Spanish, we can divide Possessives into Short Forms and Long Forms. In this lesson we will learn both types and their uses, providing examples along the way.
At the end, you’ll find a Quiz and an Exercise for practice.
1. Spanish Possessives – Short Forms
The short forms are presented in the following table:
English Singular Plural
my mi mis
your tu tus
our nuestro, nuestra nuestros, nuestras
your (of you guys) vuestro, vuestra vuestros, vuestras
his, her, their, polite your su sus
About gender and number of short forms:
- All short forms need to match the number of the owned thing (either singular or plural).
- “Nuestro” and “vuestro” need to also match the gender of the owned thing.
Short forms are always considered adjectives. We place them right before the noun (the owned thing).
Here are some example sentences:
Mi camiseta es azul.
My t-shirt is blue.
Tus muñecas son muy lindas.
Your dolls are very beautiful. (“tus” is plural, in order to match the owned thing: “muñecas”)
Su coche es alemán.
His/her/their/your(polite) car is german.
¿Te gustan nuestras sillas?
Do you like our chairs? (“nuestras” is feminine plural, in order to match the owned thing: “sillas”)
2. Spanish Possessives – Long Forms
The following table shows the long forms:
English Masculine Singular Feminine Singular Masculine Plural Feminine Plural
mine mío mía míos mías
yours tuyo tuya tuyos tuyas
ours nuestro nuestra nuestros nuestras
yours (of you guys) vuestro vuestra vuestros vuestras
his, her, theirs, polite yours suyo suya suyos suyas
About gender and number of long forms:
- All long forms need to match both the number and the gender of the owned thing.
The long forms can be placed anywhere in the sentence, EXCEPT directly before the noun (the owned thing).
Most times they are considered adjectives, like in the following sentences:
La camiseta es mía.
The t-shirt is mine.
Juan es un amigo mío.
Juan is a friend of mine.
Las fresas son tuyas.
The strawberries are yours.
El coche es suyo.
The car belongs to him/her/them/you(polite).
Las mochilas son vuestras.
The backpacks belong to you guys.
However, sometimes long forms come after a Definite Article (“el-la-los-las”). In that case, they are considered Pronouns, because they are playing the role of a noun that we don’t mention. The reason we don’t mention the noun is probably because we have done it already during the conversation and we don’t want to keep repeating it:
El mío es verde.
Mine is green. (“El mío” is playing the role of a noun that is not mentioned. For example, it could be “mi coche”, my car).
Mi impresora es más moderna que la tuya.
My printer is more modern than yours. (here, obviously “la tuya” means “tu impresora”, we just don’t want to mention “impresora” again)
Vuestros caballos son muy rápidos, y los nuestros también.
Your horses are ver fast, and ours too. (“los nuestros” represents of course “nuestros caballos”).
3. The ambiguity of “su, suyo…”
During this lesson, you may have noticed the ambiguity of possessives for the third persons.
Because for example, “su” in Spanish can mean all this things: “his”, “her”, “their”, and formal “your”.
Then how do we know what it means in a specific sentence? The answer is, by context.
If we say only only this, without any context:
Su casa es blanca.
… there is no way to know if we mean “his house”, “her house”, “their house” or “your (formal) house”.
However if we say:
Esta es María. Su casa es blanca.
This is María. Her house is white.
Then it is clear.
So for possessive forms “su, suyo, suya, suyos, suyas”, context is key.
4. Practice Possessive Adjectives and Pronouns
Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about Spanish Possessive Adjectives and Pronouns:
In the following sentences and short dialogs, fill the gaps in your mind or on a piece of paper using Spanish Possessive Adjectives and Pronouns. After completing the exercise, check the solutions below:
– ¿Este móvil es tuyo?
– Sí, es _____ (1).
Las gafas son de Ana. Son _____ (2).
El libro es de Ana. Es _____ (3).
Los libros son de Ana y Laura. Son _____ (4).
– ¿Esta botella es tuya?
– Sí, es _____ (5) botella. Es _____ (6).
– ¿Los lápices son vuestros?
– Sí, los lápices son _____ (7).
Mi casa es más grande que tu casa. = Mi casa es más grande que ___ ______ (8).
Solutions: 1 = mío, 2 = suyas, 3 = suyo, 4 = suyos, 5 = mi, 6 = mía, 7 = nuestros, 8 = la tuya