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Possessive Pronouns

Spanish for Beginners

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If you've already learned the long form of the possessive adjectives, you already know the possessive pronouns of Spanish. (In fact, some grammarians classify the long-form possessive adjectives as pronouns, even though they are used to describe nouns.)

Possessive pronouns are the equivalent of the English pronouns "mine," "yours," "his," "hers," "theirs" and "its," but they aren't used in exactly the same way in Spanish as they are in English.

Here are the possessive pronouns of Spanish with simple examples of their use:

    mío, mía, míos, mías — mine
    • Tu madre y la mía no pueden cantar. (Your mother and mine can't sing.)
    • No me gustan los coches rojos. El mío es verde. (I don't like red cars. Mine is green.)
    tuyo, tuya, tuyos, tuyas — yours (singular informal)
    • Este libro no es mío. Es tuyo. (This book isn't mine. It's yours.)
    • ¿Dónde está mi mochila? La tuya está aquí. (Where is my backpack? Yours is here.)
    suyo, suya, suyos, suyas — his, hers, yours (singular formal or plural formal), its, theirs
    • Mis calcetines son rojos. Los suyos son negros. (My socks are red. His/hers/yours/theirs are black.)
    • Amo a mi esposa. Él no ama a la suya. (I love my wife. He doesn't love his.)
    nuestro, nuestra, nuestros, nuestras — ours
    • Este coche es nuestro. (This car is ours.)
    • ¿Te gusta tu casa? No me gusta la nuestra. (Do you like your house? I don't like ours.)
    vuestro, vuestra, vuestros, vuestras — yours (plural informal)
    • Nuestra casa es muy vieja. ¿Y la vuestra? (Our house is very old. And yours?)
    • No me gustan los coches de vuestros competidores. Prefiero los vuestros. (I don't like your competitors' cars. I prefer yours.)
As you can see from the examples, possessive pronouns must match the noun they represent in both number and gender, just as do the long-form possessive adjectives.

Definite articles: Note that unlike the equivalent pronouns in English, the Spanish possessive pronouns are usually preceded by the definite article (el, la, los or las), the equivalent of "the." The article is usually dispensed with when the possessive pronoun follows a form of the verb ser, such as son or es, as in the examples, although it is sometimes retained for emphasis.

Ambiguous suyo: Suyo and the related forms can be ambiguous, since they can mean "his," "hers," "yours," "theirs" or "its." When context doesn't make its meaning clear, the possessive pronoun can be omitted and replaced by a prepositional phrase such as de él (instead of "his") or de ellos (instead of "theirs").

Examples:

  • No es mi coche. Es de ella. (It's not my car. It's hers.)
  • ¿Dónde están mis zapatos? Los de él están aquí. (Where are my shoes? His are here.)
Note for intermediate students on the neuter form: The single, masculine form of the pronouns can also be treated as neuter and thus be preceded by the definite article lo. Even though singular, the pronoun can stand for more than one object. The neuter form is used when no specific object is being referred to.

Examples:

  • No toques lo mío. (Don't touch what is mine. Don't touch my things.)
  • Lo mío es importante. (What is mine is important. My things are important.)

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