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Possessive Adjectives | Definition and Usage | Useful Examples

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There are eight types of adjectives in English grammar, so it is important to ensure that you use the right type in the right context. We often think of adjectives as ways to describe things in more detail, but they can also be used as determiners. Possessive adjectives are one of the most common types and are fairly easy to use in sentences. You can use them for greater specificity in conversations and provide information in a simple way.

Possessive adjectives

What Are Possessive Adjectives?

Possessive adjectives are used before a noun to denote who owns that noun. You can also use a possessive adjective before a pronoun in some sentences, though they usually precede a noun.

Possessive adjectives can, in fact, become pronouns when they replace nouns that are titles, or when they replace proper names, such as the names of people and places. For instance, “is that John’s car?” can be responded to with “yes, it’s his” because you can use “his” to replace “John’s” as it has already been established that you are talking about John. You do not place a possessive pronoun before a noun as this only applies to possessive adjectives.

Possessive adjectives become possessive pronouns when there is no need to use a noun and when a possessive adjective needs to be modified into a pronoun to make sense in a sentence. Both determine who owns a thing and possessive adjectives are used more often because you need to specify what that thing is with a noun.

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List of Possessive Adjectives

Possessive adjectives can be singular or plural, and almost all of them have a corresponding possessive pronoun.

Singular Possessive Adjectives

Below is a list of singular possessive adjectives and their possessive pronoun equivalents:

  1. My, with the possessive pronoun mine
  2. Your, with the possessive pronoun yours
  3. His, with the possessive pronoun his
  4. Her, with the possessive pronoun hers
  5. Its, with no corresponding possessive pronoun

Plural Possessive Adjectives

And now, here is a list of plural possessive adjectives and their possessive pronoun equivalents:

  1. Our, with the possessive pronoun ours
  2. Your, with the possessive pronoun yours
  3. Their, with the possessive pronoun theirs

There are seven different possessive adjectives, but your (and the possessive pronoun yours) can be used as singular or plural depending on the sentence. For instance, if you are talking to multiple people and you say, “is this house yours?”, you are asking if the house (the noun) belongs to both of them.

Examples of Possessive Adjectives in Sentences

Now that you know what possessive adjectives are, you can move on using them in sentences. Below are examples of how to use each of the possessive adjectives, singular, and plural, listed above, as well as how to use their corresponding possessive pronouns.

  • It is my house.
  • This house is mine.
  • It is your piano.
  • This piano is yours.
  • It is his computer.
  • This computer is his.
  • It is her certificate.
  • This certificate is hers.
  • The dog is out for its walk. (No corresponding possessive pronoun)
  • It is our child.
  • This child is ours.
  • Their cat has gone missing.
  • Is this cat theirs?
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