Possessive Pronouns

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Possessive Pronouns

Remember that a pronoun can replace the noun in a sentence and function in exactly the same way as the noun would function as a subject or object. Possessive pronouns are a specific type of pronoun that function a bit differently, showing possession or ownership.

What Are Possessive Pronouns?

Possessive pronouns show ownership or property of someone or something.

Take a look at the picture below to get a quick idea of examples:

How Do They Relate to Subject Pronouns?

Sometimes it’s easier to understand reciprocal pronouns when you look at their corresponding subject pronouns. Take a look at the chart below and the example sentences.
Subject Pronoun Possessive Pronoun Example sentence
ImineI told you the blue shirt is mine.
youyoursYours is the one with the red ribbon.
hehisThe button-down plaid in green is his.
shehersHers is the necklace with the diamond pendant.
ititsThe bowl with the cartoon dog is its.
weoursThe minivan parked on the road is ours.
theytheirsThe truck sitting in the driveway is theirs.

When Do You Use Possessive Pronouns?

Like most pronouns, possessive pronouns are used to make sentences more concise and less repetitive. Once a noun is named, you don’t need to continue repeating it when a pronoun can take its place. Check out the examples below:

- Those are my pens in the cup. They are not your pens.

- Those are my pens in the cup. They are not yours.

In this case, yours easily functions in the second sentence as a possessive pronoun replacing your pens.

- I forgot to bring my shoes to the game, so the coach lent me his shoes.

- I forgot to bring my shoes to the game, so the coach lent me his.

This one’s a bit more tricky because it’s the same word - his. In the second sentence, the possessive pronoun his replaces the possessive adjective and direct object (shoes) as his.

Eventually, you’ll learn to see them in every sentence:

- Your dog’s food is stinky, even more than ours.

- My car won’t start and I have to get to work. Can I borrow yours?

- My baby sister destroyed my notebook, so Siobhan gave me some paper from hers.


Don’t get possessive pronouns confused with possessive adjectives. Possessive adjectives (my, your, his, her, its, our, your, their) are determiners in front of a noun to describe to whom something belongs. For example, “That’s my pencil” uses my - a possessive adjective - and appears before the noun pencil, but “That pencil is mine” uses mine - a possessive pronoun - replaces the pencil showing ownership.

It’s a bit confusing, because some use the same word, but function differently. If you’re confused, just take a look at the chart below:
Subject Pronoun Possessive Pronoun Possessive Adjective

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