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Spanish possessive pronouns are used in place of nouns to indicate to whom or to what those nouns belong.
|¿Dónde está el tuyo?
|Where is yours?
|He perdido las mías.
|I lost mine.
Characteristics of Spanish possessive pronouns
- Start with a definite article*
- Replace a possessive adjective + nouns
- Must agree with the possessed noun in number and gender
- Are identical to stressed form possessive adjectives
Spanish has 20 possessive pronouns
In Spanish, there are different forms of possessive adjectives for each grammatical person depending on whether the possessed noun is masculine or feminine, singular or plural.
Note that the Spanish possessive pronouns for third person singular (él, ella, Ud.) and plural (ellos, Uds.) are identical.
The gender of the Spanish possessive pronoun must agree with the gender of the noun possessed, not that of the possessor. Men and women both say el mío in reference to trabajo, and la mía when talking about their casa, because trabajo is masculine and casa is feminine. This is particularly tricky for the third person singular, where English uses gender differently: we say "his" and "hers," but in Spanish, both of those must be translated by la suya if talking about, say, una casa. The gender of the owner is completely irrelevant, grammatically speaking.
* When a possessive pronoun follows the verb ser, the article can be omitted …
|Estos libros son tuyos.
|These books are yours.
|Ese bocadillo era mío.
|That sandwich was mine.
… unless you want to emphasize the owner:
|Tus ideas son buenas, pero las mías son mejores.
|Your ideas are good, but mine are better.
|Estas plumas, ¿son las vuestras o las nuestras?
|These pens, are they yours or ours?
When the masculine singular possessive pronoun is preceded by the preposition a or de, the preposition contracts with the masculine singular definite article (el).
|Habla a tu padre; yo hablaré al mío.
|Talk to your dad; I’ll talk to mine.
|Él disfruta de su curso, pero yo no disfruto del mío.
|He’s enjoying his class, but I’m not enjoying mine.
Neuter possessive pronoun
There is also a neuter possessive pronoun which is used when the possessed thing is abstract or unspecific, in the sense of one’s part, share, things, task, etc. The Spanish neuter possessive pronoun is formed with the neuter article lo plus the masculine singular possessive pronoun (mío, tío, suyo, nuestro, vuestro).
|¿No quieren lo mío?
|Don’t you want mine (my work, my share…)?
|Perdió lo suyo.
|He lost his (his stuff, his things).
|¿Cuánto es lo nuestro?
|How much is ours (our share)?
Possessive Pronouns Quiz
Think you’ve got it? Test yourself on Spanish possessive pronouns:
- El tuyo vs el suyo
- Definite articles
- More Spanish possession
- PwLS super list of possession lessons
- Introduction to nouns and gender
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