Possessive adjectives are the words used in place of articles to indicate to whom or to what something belongs. Their usage is similar to English, but there are some differences in form.
In Spanish there are different forms of possessive adjectives depending on whether the noun is masculine or feminine, singular or plural. There are also two different sets of possessive adjectives: short/unstressed forms (explained here) and long / stressed forms.
Short forms of Spanish possessives
|his, her, your (Ud.)||su||su||sus||sus|
|their, your (Uds.)||su||su|
Spanish has many more possessives than English. For 2nd and 3rd person plural subjects (nosotros, vosotros), there are four forms of the possessive. The gender and number of the noun possessed determine which form to use.
|masc sing||nuestro libro||vuestro libro|
|fem sing||nuestra mesa||vuestra mesas|
|masc plural||nuestros libros||vuestros libros|
|fem plural||nuestras mesas||vuestras mesas|
Singular subjects (I, you, he) and third person plural (they) have only two forms: singular and plural.
|My||Your||His / Her / Their|
|sing:||mi libro||tu libro||su libro|
|plural:||mis mesas||tus mesas||sus mesas|
An important difference between Spanish and English is in the third person. In English you have to choose between his, her, its, and their, whereas in Spanish there is no distinction by gender, only by number. Su and sus can each mean his, her, its, your, or their depending on the context.
Por ejemplo …
Su cama can mean his bed, her bed, its bed (e.g., the dog’s), your bed, or their bed. To clarify, you can use the possessive de.
Tengo su libro.
El libro de Ana.
When describing two or more nouns, a possessive adjective must be used in front of each one.
|his brother and sister||su hermano y su hermana|
Test: Possessive adjectives
- Possessive Adjectives (Worksheet, 8th-9th grade)
- Possessive Adjectives (Worksheet, 9th-10th grade)
- Possessive Adjectives and Pronouns (PPT, 6th-12th grade)
- Silly Family Trees (Worksheet, 9th-10th grade)