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Possessive Pronouns

Formation and Usage of Possessive Pronouns

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Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns are used to show ownership of an item or an idea. Possessive pronouns are very similar to possessive adjectives and it's easy to confuse the two. Here are some examples of possessive pronouns immediately followed by possessive adjectives that are different in structure, but similar in meaning.

Possessive Pronouns Examples

That dog is hers.
That beautiful house on the hill is theirs.
The two motorcycles parked over there are his.

Possessive Adjective Examples

Her dog is over there.
Their house on the hill is beautiful.
His two motorcycles are parked over there.

The easiest way to make sure you are using a possessive pronoun is to notice the placement. Possessive pronouns are always placed at the end of a sentence. They are not placed directly before the noun they modify which is the case for other possessive forms.

Possessive Pronoun Usage

Possessive pronouns are used to indicate possession when pointing out something to someone. Sentences using possessive pronouns generally use other modifiers to point something out and claim ownership.

Examples

Whose car is that? It's mine. = It's mine.
Where's their house?= That house is theirs.

Possessive pronoun are only used when the object of possession (what is 'yours', 'hers', ours', etc.) is understood from the context. In other words, what is possessed is usually referred to in a previous statement. The possessive pronoun is then used to clarify to whom the object belongs.

Here is a list of possessive pronouns.

I - mine
You - yours
He - his
She - hers
We - ours
You - yours
They - theirs

Is this your lunch? - No, that one over there is mine.
Whose tennis rackets are those? - They're yours!
Whose house is it? - It's his.
Do you know who that belongs to? - It's hers.
This isn't your house. It's ours
Whose cars are these? - They're yours.
Whose dog is that? - It's theirs.

Possessive nouns are also be used in the same manner as possessive pronouns when stating that something belongs to someone in particular.

Examples

Whose cell phone is that? - It's John's.
Who do these computers belong to? - They're our parents'.

Possessive Pronoun Checklist

  • Possessive pronouns are used when the object of possession is understood from the context
  • Place possessive pronouns directly at end of sentences
  • Possessive pronouns are very similar in usage to possessive adjectives
  • Possessive pronouns are used when the context is clear who is in possession of an object
  • Note the similarity in form between possessive pronouns and adjectives

Use these resources for more detailed information on other individual possessive forms:

Possessive Nouns - For example, John's house, the bicycle's color, etc.
Possessive Adjectives - For example, our neighborhood, his niece, etc.

This general guide to possessive forms quickly compares all three types of possessive forms.

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