Possessive Determiners

Possessive determiners are types of function words used before a noun to show who owns or possesses something.

Possessive Determiners in English Grammar

Possessive determiners, which were used to call possessive adjectives in traditional grammar, show who owns or possesses something.

Possessive Determiners in English

The possessive determiners are:

Singular Plural
Neutral My Our
Neutral Your Your
Masculine His -
Feminine Her -
Neutral Its -
Neutral - Their

Position in the Sentence

Possessive determiners come at the beginning of a noun or a noun phrase, so if the noun phrase has any adjective(s), they come after them.
Look at these examples:

He's my brother, Ryan.

Welcome to our house!

You're wearing my blue denim jacket.

Determiner or Pronoun?

The table above are determiners. Don't confuse them with possessive pronouns. Possessive pronouns appear alone and are not accompanied by a noun.

Possessive Determiners Possessive Pronouns
My Mine
Your Yours
His His
Her Hers
Its Its
Our Ours
Their Theirs

Be Careful with These Homophones!

Pay attention to these three possessive determiners. They are homophone, which means they sound the same but have different meaning and spelling.

possessive determiner contraction
your you're
its it's
their they're (or there)

It's their kid who's making all the noise!

They're making all the noise! → They are making all the noise!

Its, Not It's

Note that the possessive determiner 'its' has NO apostrophe ('). it's with an apostrophe is the contracted form of "it is" or "it has". For example:

It's complicated!

My cat has broken its leg.

Whose

Whose is a pronoun, but it can also become a determiner, especially when we're asking a question about who the owner of something is. For example:

Whose car is this?

Whose jacket needs to be washed?

Review

All you have learned so far is to use possessive determiners to tell someone owns something. To ask for the owner of something use the term whose.
Possessive determiners are followed by a 'noun'. But the interrogative word 'whose' is not necessarily followed by a 'noun'. To make the interrogative sentences wh-word 'whose' is followed by a yes/no question.

  • Look at the possessive determiners for each person and how to question them.
persons possessive determiners examples interrogative sentences
first person singular my My stuff were in Bonny's house. Whose stuff were in Bonny's house
second person singular your Is this your dog? Whose dog is this?
third person singular (female) her Her car was parked at the corner of the street. Whose car was parked at the corner of the street?
third person singular (male) his His dog's name was Betty. Whose name was Betty?
third person singular (neuter) its They injected in to its hand. Whose hand did they injected?
first person plural our They wanted to break in to our house. Whose house did they want to break in to?
second person plural your Your mothers are waiting for you to come. Whose mothers are waiting?
third person (neuter) their Their policy was to stay fair-minded. Whose policy was to stay fair-minded?

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Interrogative Determiners

There are three interrogative determiners in English: what, which, and whose. In this lesson we will go through each one of them.

Demonstrative Determiners

Demonstrative determiners in English are this, these, that and those. They are used to identify the person or thing that is being referred to.

Indefinite Determiners

Indefinite determiners are determiners that express quantity or the indefinite ideas of quality. They agree in number and gender with the noun they modify.

Indefinite Articles

The indefinite articles in English language are 'a/an'. They refer to a noun for the first time or a general noun when its identity is unknown.

Definite Article

The definite article in English language is 'the. It is used before a noun to show that the noun is known to the reader. Learn about this useful article!