Possessive-Pronouns_in-english

Possessive Pronouns in English

In grammar, pronouns are, as the term suggests, those words which replace the noun. They are used when we do not want to repeat the name of someone mentioned previously, or when the subject who we are referring to is apparent from the context.

There are many different types of pronouns: personal, possessive, reflexive, demonstrative, indefinite, interrogative, and relative. The type of English pronoun that might cause the most confusion for a non-native speaker is the possessive. In this article we will explain why.

Possessive Pronouns

The main reason why you must pay attention when studying possessive pronouns in English lies in their specific features and the differences that exist between possessive pronouns and adjectives. What is the difference between an adjective and a pronoun? As you probably know, while the adjective goes next to the noun, the pronoun replaces it. Therefore, in order to speak properly, you first need to know this distinction. The table below shows the adjectives and their corresponding pronouns in English.

Subject Adjective Pronoun
1° person singular my mine
2° person singular your yours
3° person singular male his his
3° person singular female her hers
3° person singular neutral its its
1° person plural our ours
2° person plural your yours
3° person plural their theirs

Apart from the first person singular, which is completely different, for the other forms you just add –s, with the exception of the third person male and neutral, which remain the same. The third person singular neutral is only used in one particular case that we shall look at later.   

Use of Possessive Pronouns

In English, a possessive pronoun is used in the following cases:

-To replace a name.

“Is this your coat?” “No, it is hers.”

Your skirt is long. Mine is short.

-After the preposition “of.

Elizabeth is a friend of mine.

-The gender-neutral pronoun its is used with the word own.

This house is beautiful and has a garden of its own.

More Examples:

We washed my clothes and yours as well.

       Your daughter and mine are in the same class.

       Your son and mine are close friends.

Mistakes to Avoid…

When using possessive pronouns, there are some frequent mistakes that are made. Knowing them will help you avoid them. Here they are:

You should not use an apostrophe with the s” of the pronoun.

Do not write:

Are these plates your’s?

But rather:

Are these plates yours?

Do not write:

Every house has a garden of it’s own.

But rather:

Every house has a garden of its own.

Unlike in some other languages, you should not use a definite article before a pronoun.

Do not write:

Your car is there. This is the mine.

But rather:

Your car is there. This is mine.

Adjectives and pronouns can be easily confused. Remember to add the –s to the pronoun.

Do not write:

My jacket is blue. Your is white.

But rather:

My jacket is blue. Yours is white.

When an indefinite article is followed by a possessive adjective, in English you must use the construction of + the possessive pronoun.

Do not write:

This is a my friend.

But rather:

This is a friend of mine.

Possessive pronouns are constant, meaning that the singular and plural forms are the same.

Do not write:

These are your shoes. Those are mines.

But rather:

These are your shoes. Those are mine.

In English, possessive pronouns have the same gender and number as the possessor, not as the object of possession.

Do not write:

I was with my brother, Louise was with his.

But rather:

I was with my brother, Louise was with hers.

Having a good knowledge of pronouns will help you to avoid the most common mistakes and express yourself better. English grammar is crucial if you want to speak English correctly. Have you ever tried ABA English’s video classes? We offer 144 video classes about grammar as well as many exercises that will allow you to learn English in your free time without too much effort. What are you waiting for? Try our video classes today!

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