Grammar: What is Possessive Noun?

Possessive pronouns are words that show who or what owns something. They are derived from personal pronouns and can replace a noun phrase that indicates ownership.

For example, instead of saying “This is John’s book“, we can say “This is his book“. There are different types of possessive pronouns depending on how they are used in a sentence: absolute and adjective.

In this article, we will explain what these types are and how to use them correctly.

Possessive nouns vs Possessive pronouns

A possessive noun is a noun that shows ownership or possession of something. It is formed by adding an apostrophe and an “s” to the end of a singular noun or just an apostrophe to the end of a plural noun. Examples of possessive nouns include “Mary’s book” and “the dogs’ toys“.

A possessive pronoun is a word that replaces a possessive noun and shows ownership or possession of something. Examples of possessive pronouns include “mine”, “yours”, “his”, “hers”, “its”, “ours”, and “theirs”. Possessive pronouns do not use apostrophes to show possession. Possessive pronouns can be used as subjects, objects, or complements in sentences.

The main difference between possessive pronouns and possessive nouns is that possessive nouns are nouns that show possession, while possessive pronouns are words that replace possessive nouns and show possession. Possessive nouns use an apostrophe to show possession, while possessive pronouns do not.

Possessive adjectives vs Possessive pronouns

Possessive adjectives are words that are used to show ownership or possession of something. They are placed before a noun and describe who or what owns the noun. For example, in the sentence “That is my toy” the word “my” is a possessive adjective because it describes who owns the toy.

Possessive pronouns are words that are used to replace a noun and show ownership or possession. They can stand alone in a sentence and do not need to be followed by a noun. For example, in the sentence “This toy is mine,” the word “mine” is a possessive pronoun because it replaces the noun “toy” and shows ownership.

So, possessive adjectives are words that come before a noun and show who or what owns the noun, while possessive pronouns are words that replace a noun and show ownership or possession.

Forms and uses of possessive pronouns

Forms of Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns come in different forms depending on the number and gender of the owner. Here are the different forms:

Singular:

  • My (used for first person singular – I, me)
  • Your (used for second person singular – you)
  • His (used for third person singular masculine – he, him)
  • Her (used for third person singular feminine – she, her)
  • Its (used for third person singular neutral – it)

Plural:

  • Our (used for first person plural – we, us)
  • Your (used for second person plural – you)
  • Their (used for third person plural – they, them)

Uses of Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns are used to show ownership or possession. Here are some examples of how to use possessive pronouns in sentences:

  1. “This is my book.” (singular possessive pronoun)
  2. Is this your pencil?” (singular possessive pronoun)
  3. His backpack is blue.” (singular possessive pronoun)
  4. Her cat is sleeping.” (singular possessive pronoun)
  5. Its tail is long.” (singular possessive pronoun)
  6. Our family is going on vacation.” (plural possessive pronoun)
  7. Is this your bike?” (plural possessive pronoun)
  8. Their house is big.” (plural possessive pronoun)

The agreement of possessive pronouns with their antecedents

When we use possessive pronouns, they need to agree in number and gender with the noun they are referring to. This noun is called the antecedent.

For example, if the antecedent is a singular male noun, we use the possessive pronoun “his”. If the antecedent is a plural noun, we use the possessive pronoun “their”.

Let’s look at some examples:

  1. “John lost his book.” – Here, “John” is the antecedent, which is a singular male noun. The possessive pronoun “his” agrees in gender and number with the antecedent.
  2. “Samantha lost her book.” – Here, “Samantha” is the antecedent, which is a singular female noun. The possessive pronoun “her” agrees in gender and number with the antecedent.
  3. “The kids lost their toys.” – Here, “kids” is the antecedent, which is a plural noun. The possessive pronoun “their” agrees in number with the antecedent.

It’s important to note that possessive pronouns do not need apostrophes, unlike possessive nouns. For example, we say “his book” instead of “his’s book“.

Types of possessive pronouns

  • Personal possessive pronouns: These pronouns show possession and also indicate who owns the object. Examples include “my”, “your”, “his”, “her”, “its”, “our”, and “their”.
  • Demonstrative possessive pronouns: These pronouns indicate ownership of a specific object and are often used to replace a noun. Examples include “this”, “that”, “these”, and “those”.
  • Relative possessive pronouns: These pronouns are used to indicate possession and also connect clauses in a sentence. Examples include “whose”, “which”, and “that”.
  • Interrogative possessive pronouns: These pronouns are used to ask a question about possession or ownership. Examples include “whose” and “what”.
  • Indefinite possessive pronouns: These pronouns are used to indicate possession without specifying the person or thing that owns the object. Examples include “someone’s”, “anyone’s”, and “no one’s”.