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.
What Are Possessive Determiners?
Possessive determiners (also called possessive adjectives in traditional grammar) are small words that come before nouns and show who owns or possesses something.
Possessive Determiners in English
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:
|I have a car.||
|You have a car.||
|He has a car.||
|She has a car.||
|We have a car.||
|They have a car.||
Determiner or Pronoun?
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.
||they're (or there)|
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:
My cat has broken
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||
||Whose stuff were in Bonny's house|
|second person singular||your||
||Whose dog is this?|
|third person singular (female)||her||
||Whose car was parked at the corner of the street?|
|third person singular (male)||his||
||Whose name was Betty?|
|third person singular (neuter)||its||
They injected in to
||Whose hand did they inject?|
|first person plural||our||
They wanted to break in to
||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||
||Whose policy was to stay fair-minded?|