What is a Possessive Adjective?

A possessive adjective is a type of adjective that indicates ownership or possession of something by someone. Possessive adjectives modify nouns to show that something belongs to a particular person or group. They help clarify the relationship between the noun and the owner.

In English, there are several possessive adjectives:

My: This is used to indicate that something belongs to the speaker. For example, “This is my book.”

Your: This indicates that something belongs to the person you are addressing. For example, “Is this your car?”

His: This indicates that something belongs to a male person. For example, “I like his hat.”

Her: This indicates that something belongs to a female person. For example, “She forgot her umbrella.”

Its: This indicates that something belongs to a non-human entity, such as an animal or an object. For example, “The dog wagged its tail.”

Our: This indicates that something belongs to a group that includes the speaker. For example, “Our team won the game.”

Their: This indicates that something belongs to a group of people other than the speaker. For example, “They brought their children to the park.”

These words are placed before a noun to show possession. For example, “my book,” “your car,” “his hat,” etc. Possessive adjectives are an essential part of the language for expressing ownership and relationships between people and things.

Examples of Possessive Adjectives

Possessive adjectives are used to show ownership or possession. They indicate who something belongs to. Here are some examples of possessive adjectives in English:

My – This is my car.
Your – Is this your book?
His – That is his laptop.
Her – I saw her dog at the park.
Its – The cat licked its paws.
Our – We are going to our grandmother’s house.
Their – Those are their bicycles.
Whose – Whose pen is this?

Note that possessive adjectives agree with the gender and number of the noun they modify. For example, “his” is used for a singular masculine noun, “her” is used for a singular feminine noun, and “their” is used for a plural noun regardless of gender.

What is the Difference Between Possessive Adjectives and Possessive Pronouns?

Possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns are words used to show possession or ownership in a sentence. However, they are used in slightly different ways and have distinct functions.

Here’s the difference between them:

Possessive Adjectives

Possessive adjectives indicate ownership or possession of a noun and are placed before the noun. They modify the noun by showing who owns or possesses it. In English, the possessive adjectives are:


Example sentences:

This is my car.
Is this your book?
His house is beautiful.
She loves her cat.
The dog wagged its tail.
We are enjoying our vacation.
Their garden is well-maintained.

Possessive Pronouns

On the other hand, possess pronouns stand-alone and replace the noun they are referring to. They show ownership without needing a separate noun to modify.

In English, the possessive pronouns are:


Example sentences:

The blue car is mine.
The red book is yours.
The large house is his.
The black cat is hers.
The dog wagged its tail.
The beach ball is ours.
The beautiful garden is theirs.

In summary, the key difference lies in how they are used in a sentence:

Possessive adjectives modify nouns by showing ownership.
Possessive pronouns replace nouns to indicate ownership.

Remember that possessive pronouns do not require an additional noun to follow them, whereas possessive adjectives are used alongside a noun to describe ownership.

How to Identify Possessive Adjectives

Identifying possessive adjectives involves recognizing specific characteristics of words used in a sentence. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you identify possessive adjectives:

1. Position: Possessive adjectives are always placed before nouns to indicate ownership or possession.

2. Modification: Possessive adjectives directly modify the noun they are attached to, describing to whom the noun belongs.

3. No Stand-Alone Use: Possessive adjectives cannot stand alone, unlike possessive pronouns. They need to be followed by a noun to make sense.

4. Agreement: Possessive adjectives agree in gender and number with the noun they modify. This means they change based on whether the noun is singular or plural and whether it is masculine, feminine, or neuter.

Here are some examples of possessive adjectives in sentences:

1. My book is on the table. (The possessive adjective “My” modifies the noun “book.”)

2. Her cat is very playful. (The possessive adjective “Her” modifies the noun “cat.”)

3. Their house is quite spacious. (The possessive adjective “Their” modifies the noun “house.”)

Our parents are visiting tomorrow. (The possessive adjective “Our” modifies the noun “parents.”)

Remember, possessive adjectives indicate possession and are closely connected to the nouns they modify. If you can find a word that comes before a noun and shows ownership or possession, it’s likely a possessive adjective.

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