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Pronombres Posesivos (Possessive Pronouns)

Written by tutor Dominic J.

Possessive pronouns in English are words that provide a reference point to a prior sentence and also specify to whom the object of the reference point belongs to. For example, in English, we could have the following dialogue:

Person 1: My dog is white with brown spots (Mi perro es blanco con manchas cafes.)

Person 2: Mine is totally black (El mio es totalmente negro.)

The first person provides the context and the reference point for the second person’s pronoun. “Dog” is the noun and “Mine” is the pronoun. The biggest difference you may notice between the English way of doing this and the Spanish way is that, in Spanish, we typical add a definitive article (el, la, los, las).

Here is a list of the possessive pronouns you will find in Spanish:

English
possessive       
pronoun
Spanish singular       
masculine
pronoun
Spanish singular       
feminine pronoun
Spanish plural       
masculine
pronoun
Spanish plural       
feminine pronoun
Mine El mio La mia Los mios Las mias
Yours (informal) El tuyo La tuya Los tuyos Las tuyas
Yours (formal),
his, hers
El suyo La suya Los suyos Las suyas
Ours El nuestro La nuestra Los nuestros Las nuestras
Yours (plural,
informal)
El vuestro La vuestra Los vuestros Las vuestras
Yours (plural,
formal), theirs
El suyo La suya Los suyos Las suyas

All you really need to know in order to figure out which of the above possessive pronouns to use is:

  • To whom does the referred object belong
  • The gender of the referred object
  • Whether it is singular or plural

Here are some examples:

  • Can I borrow your car? (Me prestas tu carro?)
  • Mine is with the mechanic, but you can borrow my brother’s. (El mio está con el mecánico, pero mi hermano te prestará el suyo)
  • Is that their basketball court? (Eso es su cancha de basquetbol?)
  • No, that’s ours, but that over there is theirs. (No, es la nuestra, pero esa por alla es la suya.)
  • Did you see my new earrings? (Has visto mis aretes nuevos?)
  • Yeah, I like yours, but I prefer mine. (Si, me gustan los tuyos, pero prefiero los mios.)

As you see in the first example, “carro” is masculine and singular (hence, “el”) and they are talking about two different cars, leading to the “el mio” and the “el suyo”.

In the second example, “cancha” is feminine and singular (hence, “la”) and they are referring to those owned by us (“el nuestro”) and those owned by another group of individuals (“la suya”).

Lastly, in the third one, we have an example of using an object that is masculine and plural (hence, “los”) and they are speaking in first and second-person back-and-forth (“los mios” and “los tuyos”, respectively).

Here is one final note on possessive pronouns. In third person, it’s actually easier in Spanish because you don’t necessarily have to specify whether it belongs to a singular person/entity or multiple people/ entities. This can also be confusing, and may require additional clarification if the sentence which encapsulates the possessive pronoun is too far removed from the original sentence containing the object in question.

Pronombres Posesivos Practice Quiz

Name the two functions of possessive pronouns

A. To provide a reference point and to declare whom owns the object in question
B. To provide a reference point and to be the object of a preposition
C. To declare who owns the object in question and to be the object of a preposition
D. To declare who owns the object in question and to shorten the sentence
The correct answer here would be A.

Complete the following sentence: Nosotros tenemos dulces, quieres los ____ o los ____? (We have candy, do you want mine or his?)

A. Tuyos, suyos
B. Mios, suyos
C. Suyos, mios
D. Mios, tuyos
The correct answer here would be B.

Which of the following is not required in assessing which possessive pronoun to use?

A. To whom the referred object belongs
B. The gender of the object
C. Whether it is singular or plural
D. The number of pronouns already used in the sentence.
The correct answer here would be D.

Complete the following sentence: No me gusta ni su basquetbol ni ____. Me gusta ___ porque tiene mas aire. (I don’t like his basketball or yours. I like ours because it has more air. )

A. El nuestro, el tuyo
B. El suyo, el tuyo
C. El tuyo, el nuestro
D. El nuestro, el suyo
The correct answer here would be C.
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