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There are many kinds of pronouns utilized in the English language and one of these is called the possessive pronoun. This kind of pronoun is used to direct the ownership of something, for example ‘my shoe’ or ‘your eyes.’ This is something that is seen very repeatedly in English and you must be aware of how these pronouns work.
In this article, we are going to be examining the different possessive pronouns as well as how they are to be utilized, allowing you to use them confidently and accurately.
Possessive Pronoun: An Overview
A possessive pronoun is a pronoun that is used to represent ownership or possession. For instance, the word hers is a possessive pronoun in the sentence Sara noticed that John’s dog was bigger than hers. The word hers suggests that “Sara’s dog” (the noun phrase being substituted by the word hers) belongs to Sara.
Possessive Pronouns List
Now that you understand how the possessive pronouns work, try using some of these possessive pronouns in your sentence structure. Here’s a list of the possessive forms:
|Subject Pronoun||Possessive (absolute)||Possessive (adjective)|
Notice that some possessive pronouns and possessive adjectives are the exact, such as with his and its. Yet, in most cases, the word you select depends on how you’re using it.
Five Examples of Possessive Pronouns in Sentences
Possessive pronouns substitute personal pronouns and possessive determiners (also known as possessive adjectives) to concentrate on writing while still clearly showing ownership. For instance, rather than saying, “The house belongs to my brother and his wife,” you could simply say, “The house is theirs.” Here are some sentence examples that indicate the use of possessive pronouns.
- 1. “The cat is mine.” The possessive pronoun “mine” replaces the phrase “my cat,” which would make the sentence repetitive.
- 2. “The donation was ours.” The possessive pronoun “ours” indicates plural ownership of the donation.
- 3. “I believe this is yours.” The possessive pronoun “yours” indicates second-person ownership of “this.”
- 4. “The portfolio is hers.” The possessive pronoun “hers” explains the owner of the “portfolio.”
- 5. “I think the car is theirs.” The possessive pronoun “theirs” explains to whom the car belongs.
Four Tips for Using Possessive Pronouns
There are a few useful tips for avoiding grammatical mistakes when you’re using possessive pronouns.
- Avoid apostrophes. Many writers create the common mistake of adding an apostrophe to possessive pronouns. While apostrophes can demonstrate possession, possessive pronouns do not take apostrophes.
- Say your sentences out loud. Sometimes reading a sentence aloud can assist you to pinpoint which part of it is incorrect. If the word doesn’t sound right or seem to fit, try a distinct version of it.
- Check your placement. Possessive pronouns can either be used in place of a noun in a sentence or stand on their own. Unlike possessive adjectives, they will not occur before a noun or within a noun phrase.
- Try not to confuse them with possessive adjectives. Confusing possessive adjectives with possessive pronouns is a common mistake. While possessive adjectives indicate ownership, they also work as an antecedent before a noun to supply information about the possessive quality of the noun itself. Possessive adjectives contain words like “my,” “your,” “our,” and “its” (which is the correct possessive form, rather than “it’s,” which is a contraction for “it is”).
How to Use Possessive Pronouns
Before we examine possessive pronouns particularly, it would be a good idea to review how pronouns, in general, are used in sentences. In brief, pronouns substitute nouns and noun phrases. This suggests that, grammatically, pronouns follow the same rules as nouns and can be used anywhere a noun can (i.e. as a subject or object).
Possessive pronouns can be utilized as either subjects or objects:
- Subject: Ben already got his package. Mine isn’t here yet.
- Object: Dona found my backpack, but we still haven’t found hers.
When used in sentences, a possessive pronoun compares the number of the owner and not the owned object(s). For example,
- I saw Peter carrying a book. I think this book is his. (The owner is Patrick.)
- I saw Peter carrying books. I think these books are his. (The owner is still Patrick.)
The hardship arises when a possessive pronoun is used as a subject. When used as a subject, the verb will be singular or plural based on the number of people or things being examined and not the owner. For instance,
- Jane’s favorite movie is a romantic comedy. Mine is a horror film. (One movie.)
- Jane’s favorite pizza toppings are pepperoni and sausage. Mines are ham and olives. (Multiple pizza toppings.)
As with all other pronouns, it is essential to make it clear what noun/noun phrase is being replaced by a possessive pronoun. Most of the time, a reader can use context to decide what person or thing is being directed to even if isn’t explicitly stated:
- Unclear: We found ours. (Our what?)
- Clear: Sam found his cat and we found ours. (Although the sentence doesn’t precisely say it, we can use context to determine that ours refers to “our cat.”)
The possessive pronoun his
The word his can be categorized as either a possessive pronoun or a possessive adjective depending on how it is used in a sentence. If it is used as a subject or an object, it is believed to be a pronoun. If it is used to change a noun, it is supposed to be an adjective.
- Possessive pronoun:I put on my shoes and Dayana put on her. (Her is used as an object. Her is a pronoun in this sentence.)
- Possessive adjective:I think this is her hat. (Her is changing the noun hat. Her is an adjective in this sentence.)
Adverbs are used to strengthen an action or explain the circumstances in which an action takes place.
It’s a possessive pronoun
Eventually, we ought to look at the pronoun its. This word can be used just like the further possessive pronouns. For instance,
- The kitten immediately knew which ball was its. (Its replaces “the Kitten’s ball.”)
- The tree’s leaves were distinct from all of the others. Its were made of gold. (Its replaces “the tree’s leaves.”)
To many English speakers, the above two sentences will look and sound strange. The word its is seldom used as a possessive pronoun, and this usage is often avoided in everyday writing and speech. Instead, the word its is used quite often as a possessive adjective.
Firstly, possessive pronouns can only be employed where a noun or another pronoun can be used as well (as a subject or an object). Possessive pronouns are NOT modifiers, which indicates they are not used in place of adjectives, adverbs, or similar parts of speech. Of course, as we mentioned above, the word his is an exception to this rule.
Possessive pronouns have an important space in our sentences. Here, in this article, we discussed the main topics related to possessive pronouns. You can learn more about English Grammar in our Entri Learning App.