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Spanish possessive adjectives

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Possessive adjectives (adjetivos posesivos) express possession or ownership. 

Unlike English, they reflect the gender and quantity of the thing being owned, not of the owner.

Examples:

  • ¿Te gustan mis faldas? (Do you like my skirts?)
  • Nuestro abuelo es de Cartagena. (Our grandfather is from Cartagena.)

Possessive adjective forms: the short forms and the long forms

Spanish possessive adjectives have two different forms: 

  1. the short forms
  2. the long forms

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When to use the short and the long forms in Spanish 

Unlike the short forms, the long ones emphasize who the owner is or contrast one possessor with another.

Examples: 

  • Este es mi portátil y ese es el tuyo. (This is my laptop, and that one is yours.)
  • Prefiero el coche suyo y no el nuestro. (I prefer their car and not ours.)​

1. The short forms

SingularPlural formEnglish translation
mimismy
tutusyour (sing.)
susushis/her/its + formal you 
nuestro / nuestranuestros / nuestrasour
vuestro / vuestravuestros / vuestrasyour (pl.)
susustheir + formal you 

Short form placement

The short forms are placed before the nouns.

Example: 

Mi amiga se llama Lorena. (My friend's name is Lorena.)

Gender and number of short forms

Spanish our and your are the only possessive adjectives which are declined into masculine (nuestro/vuestro), feminine (nuestra/vuestra) and plural (nuestros, nuestras / vuestros, vuestras).

Examples: 

  • Nuestro / Vuestro primo es albañil. (Our/Your cousin is a bricklayer.)
  • Nuestra / Vuestra ciudad está cerca de Madrid. (Our/Your city is close to Madrid)
  • Nuestros / Vuestros idiomas de parecen. (Our/Your languages are alike.)
  • Nuestras / Vuestras primas son simpáticas. (Our/Your cousins are nice.)

How to express his/her/their in Spanish 

The forms "su" (singular) and "sus"  (plural) mean his, her, formal you and their. The context will help you to determine the person the adjective refers to.

Examples: 

  • A Juan le gusta su corbata nueva y a Ana le gusta su camisa blanca. (Juan likes his new tie, and Ana likes her white shirt.)
  • Miguel y sus hijos se van al parque en coche. (Miguel and his sons go to the park by car.)
  • Los administradores hablan con sus empleados. (The managers talk to their employees.)
  • Don José, ¿como está su hijo? (Don José, how is your son going?)

2. Long forms   

Singular formPlural formEnglish translation
mío / mía*míos / mías*mine
tuyo / tuyatuyos / tuyasyours
suyo / suyasuyos / suyashis, her, formal yours
nuestro / nuestranuestros / nuestrasours
vuestro / vuestravuestros / vuestrasyours
suyo / suyasuyos / suyastheirs, formal yours

*These forms carry the accent mark.

Long form placement

The long forms are placed after the noun they modify. 

Example:

Las camisas tuyas son todas blancas. (Your shirts are all white.)

Gender and number of long forms 

All long forms have a a masculine, feminine and plural forms.

Examples: 

  • El abuelo mío se llama Felipe. (My grandfather's name is Felipe.)
  • Los libros míos no caben en esta mochila. (My books do not fit in this backpack.)
  • A Lucas le gustan los zapatos y los vestidos míos. (Lucas likes my shoes and dresses.)
  • Las maestras mías suelen mimarme. (My teachers are used to pampering me.)

Third-person singular and plural forms (suyo, suyos...)

Suyo and suyos refer to a male (he), female (she) or plural subject (they). The context will help you to determine the person the adjective refers to.

Examples: 

Me gustan los zapatos suyos. (I like his/her/their shoes.)

Other English equivalents of  the long forms

Of mine, of yours, of ours are other English translations of the long forms. 

Examples:

Carlos es un amigo mío. (Carlos is a friend of mine.)


Exercises

  1. Spanish possessive adjectives practice quiz
  2. Spanish possessive adjectives - Short or long forms?

Spanish possessive adjectives practice quiz


Spanish possessive adjectives - Short or long forms?


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