Possessive pronouns are the words which replace nouns modified by possessive adjectives. In Spanish there are different forms of possessive pronouns depending on whether the 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.
There are two important things to know about Spanish possessive pronouns:
- The possessive pronoun must match the noun being replaced in gender and number.
- The appropriate definite article must be used.*
Otherwise, Spanish and English possessive pronouns are very similar.
|Mi hermano está aquí; ¿dónde está el tuyo?||My brother is here; where’s yours?|
|Me gustan mis libros y ella prefiere los suyos.||I like my books and she prefers hers.|
* 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.|
Note that Spanish possessive pronouns are identical to stressed form possessive adjectives, but their usage is different: possessive pronouns replace nouns, while possessive adjectives modify nouns.
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)?|