Welcome to our grammar lesson about Spanish Possessive adjectives and pronouns (“Adjetivos y pronombres posesivos”).
Possessive adjectives and pronouns express possession or belonging. In other words, who owns something.
They are equivalent to the English “my, mine, your, yours, his…”
In Spanish, there are 2 sets of forms we need to learn: short forms and long forms.
We will learn them all in this lesson, with examples of their use.
At the end you’ll find a Quiz and an Exercise for practice.
The following table shows the short forms:
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
Gender and number of short forms:
- All short forms need to match the number of the owned thing (singular or plural).
- nuestro and vuestro need to also match the gender of the owned thing (masculine or feminine).
We can only place short forms right before a noun (the owned thing).
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”)
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
Gender and number of long forms:
- All long forms need to match both the number and the gender of the owned thing.
We can place the long forms anywhere in the sentence, except directly before a noun (the owned thing):
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.
Sometimes we place a definite Article (“el-la-los-las”) before a long form.
In this case, the long form represents a noun that we choose not to mention. The reason we don’t mention the noun might be because we have done it before already, and we don’t want to keep repeating it.
El mío es verde.
Mine is green. (“El mío” represents 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” represents “tu impresora”, your printer. We just don’t want to mention “impresora” again)
Vuestros caballos son rápidos, y los nuestros también.
Your horses are fast, so are ours. (“los nuestros” obviously represents “nuestros caballos”), our horses.
The ambiguity of “su, suyo…”
In the tables above, we notice the ambiguity of the following forms: su, sus, suyo, suya, suyos, suyas.
For example, su can mean all these things: “his”, “her”, “their”, and polite “your”.
Then, how do we know what it means in a specific sentence? We know it from the context.
If we read the following sentence without any context:
Su casa es blanca.
… there is no way of knowing if that means “his house”, “her house”, “their house” or “your (polite) house”.
However if we read:
Esta es María. Su casa es blanca.
This is María. Her house is white.
Then it is clear.
So remember: for the forms that begin with “su…”, context is key.
Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about possessive adjectives and pronouns:
In the following sentences and short dialogs, fill the gaps using possessive adjectives and pronouns.
Remember to think whether you need a short or a long form.
Also, don’t forget to match the possessive’s gender and number to the noun, when necessary.
1) ¿Este móvil es ___ ?
Is this cellphone yours?
2) Sí, es ___ móvil.
Yes, it is my cellphone.
3) Las gafas son de Ana. Son ___ .
The glasses belong to Ana. They belong to her.
4) El libro es de Ana. Es ___ libro.
The book belongs to Ana. It is her book.
5) Los libros son de Ana y Laura. Son ___ .
The books belong to Ana and Laura. They belong to them.
6) ¿Esta botella es ___ ?
Is this bottle yours?
7) Sí, es ___ botella. Es ___ .
Yes, it is my bottle. It is mine.
8) ¿El lápiz es ___ ?
Does the pencil belong to you guys?
9) Sí, es ___ .
Yes, it belongs to us.
10) Mi casa es más grande que __ ___ .
My house is bigger than yours.
7) mi, mía
10) la tuya (with the article “la” because “la tuya” is representing “tu casa”, your house)