Possessive Pronouns for intermediate learners

Possessive pronouns show ownership and indicate that something belongs to someone particular. With their help, we can make a possessive phrase shorter.

"Possessive Pronouns" in English Grammar

What Are Possessive Pronouns?

When we want to talk about possession in English, we use possessive pronouns. They show that something/someone belongs to another. Look at the table below to learn about them:

Subject Pronouns Possessive Pronouns
I Mine
You Yours
He His
She Hers
It -
We Ours
You Yours
They Theirs


Please note that the possessive pronouns used for the second person singular and second person plural forms are the same.

Now, let us study the examples carefully:

Those cars near the tree are yours.

Is this novel hers?

As you can see, these possessive pronouns can replace nouns and noun phrases without being followed by a noun.

How to Use Them

As stated above, possessive pronouns can be used to replace nouns or noun phrases. Look at the following examples:

This is my class. It's mine.

Those are your friends. They're yours.

As you can see, the possessive pronoun has replaced nouns.


If these possessive pronouns are to be followed by nouns, they will change accordingly and will be called possessive determiners. Some of the possessive determiners are used in the examples below:

You're hurting my cat.

As you can see, the possessive adjective 'my' is followed by a noun and cannot be used without it.

I see it's their place I've taken in your life.

As it was shown in the table, we have no possessive pronouns for the third person singular non-humans. Look at the following example:

That toy is its.


Although we have no possessive pronouns for the third person singular non-humans, we can use a possessive determiner instead. Study the following examples:

Its tail is bigger than yours.

Its head is a little scarred.

As you can see, 'its' is followed by a noun which makes it a possessive determiner.

How to Ask Questions About Possession

In order to ask to whom an item or a person belongs, we can use the term 'Whose' in sentences that means 'for whom'. Let us study the following examples carefully:

A : Whose book is this?

B : It's mine.

A : Whose shoes are you wearing in this picture?

B : They're hers.


Be careful as to not add an article (a, an, the) before the possessive pronouns. Pay attention to the examples below:

She is wearing a dress. It's hers. (Not it's a hers).

His is black. (Not the his are black).


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