Possessive Determiners

Possessive determiners are types of function words used before a noun to show ownership or possession. In this lesson, we will learn all about them.

"Possessive Determiners" in English Grammar

What Are Possessive Determiners?

Possessive determiners (also called possessive adjectives in traditional grammar) are words that come before nouns and show possession and ownership.

Possessive Determiners in English

The possessive determiners are:

Singular Plural
Neutral my our
Neutral your your
Masculine his -
Feminine her -
Neutral its -
Neutral - their

Placement

Possessive determiners come at the beginning of a noun or a noun phrase, so if the noun phrase has one or more adjectives(s), they come after the determiner. Look at these examples:

He's my brother, Ryan.

Welcome to our house!

You're wearing my blue denim jacket.

I have a car. This is my car.
You have a car. This is your car.
He has a car. This is his car.
She has a car. This is her car.
We have a car. This is our car.
They have a car. This is their car.

Determiner or Pronoun?

The table above shows possessive determiners. Do not 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 -
Our Ours
Their Theirs

using the possessive determiner 'my' in a sentence

Homophones

Pay attention to these three possessive determiners and contracted forms. They are homophones, which means they sound the same but have different meanings and spelling.

possessive determiner contraction
your you're
its it's
their they're

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

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

It's complicated!

'It's' is the contracted form of 'it is'.

My cat has broken its leg.

Here, 'its' is a possessive determiner.

Whose

Whose is a pronoun, but it can also be used as a determiner, especially when we are asking a question about ownership of something. 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 inject?
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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Pre-determiners are used to modify a noun. They are placed before the central determiners. Follow the article to learn about them.

Post-determiners

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Post-determiners are terms that are used after central determiners. They are all used to modify the noun phrase. follow the article to learn more.

Determiner Order

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As you know, pre-determiners, determiners, and post-determiners can be used together to modify a noun. In this lesson, we will learn about their order.

Interrogative Determiners

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

Demonstrative Determiners

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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

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