Possessive Adjectives (complete lesson with examples)

Possessive Adjectives in English


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Possessive adjectives are used in English to refer to the ownership or possession of something. When we use them to talk about a person, it is more in the sense of a relationship with that person.

English possessive adjectives:

  • my
  • your
  • his / her / its (not it’s!)
  • our
  • your
  • their

Examples:

  • My bike is very old.
  • His girlfriend is very friendly.
  • Our cat is black.
  • Their homework is on the desk.

Like all adjectives in English, they are always placed directly in front of the noun to which they refer (possessive adjective + noun).

⚠ We do not put an S to the possessive adjective when the noun is plural!

  • Our bikes are expensive.
  • Ours bikes are expensive.

However, the verb used must be plural if the noun is plural, and singular if the verb is singular.

  • My pen is blue. (sing)
  • My pens are blue. (plur)
  • Our child is smart. (sing)
  • Our children are smart. (plur)

⚠ Its or It’s ?

Be careful not to confuse it’s and its

  • Its = the possessive adjective of it for things or animals. Do not use an apostrophe.
  • It’s = the contraction of ‘it is’ or ‘it has’

Ex: I’m taking my cat to the vet. Its leg is broken. 

⚠ Their, They’re or There ?

Be careful not to confuse the two! Same as for its / it’s

  • Their = the possessive adjective of They
  • They’re = the contraction of ‘they are’
  • There = adverb

⚠ Be careful not to confuse possessive pronouns with complementary personal pronouns or possessive adjectives!

  • This is your (possessive adjective) book and this is mine (possessive pronoun).

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