possessives: pronouns


Can you match these possessive pronouns to the right personal pronouns and possessive adjectives?

yours, mine, theirs, ours, hers, his, its


Subject Object Possessive adjectives

Possessive pronouns

I me  my  
You you  your  
He him  his  
She her  her  
It it  its  
We us  our  
They them  their  


We can use a possessive pronoun instead of a noun phrase:


Is that John’s car?   No, it’s [my car] > No, it’s mine.
Whose coat is this?   Is it [your coat]? > Is it yours?
Her coat is grey, [my coat]is brown   Her coat is grey,   mine is brown.



We can use possessive pronouns after of.

We can say:

Susan is one of my friends.
Susan is a friend of mine.
but not 
Susan is a friend of me


I am one of Susan's friends.
I am a friend of Susan's.
but not 
I am a friend of Susan



Hello Sir,
It is stated above that "I am a friend of Susan's" is correct sentence. Could you please explain how the meaning is changed when we use just 'Susan' instead of 'Susan's' in that sentence?

Hello Advertgrwl,

Saying 'I am a friend of Susan' is not correct in standard English - it's simply something native speakers don't say.

It might help to think of 'I'm a friend of Susan's' as a shorter way of saying 'I'm a friend of Susan's many friends'.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everybody :),

I would like to ask you about the "double possessive" that is when two possessives (a determiner/demonstrative + a possessive pronuon) refer to the same noun as in:
That friend of yours.
That idea of Bob's.

I've been told that this construction could be often used with a derogatory meaning. Is that true? And if so, how do we distinguish the pejorative note in those phrases? Through the context/the speaker's voice?

And, on the same topic, I've read that there is a nuance in meaning between, for example:
1) What promise is it of yours? And
2) What is this promise of yours?

The first being some sort of rhetorical question meaning "what ever/on earth is this promise you've made"?, while the second is a more direct question meaning "what have you promised"? "what promise have you made"?
Is it correct or perhaps is it the other way round?

I'd really appreciate your answering my questions.

Thanks a lot in advance.

Hi Knightrider,

I can't think of any special use of the double possessive with a derogatory meaning. Depending on the intonation, it certainly could be used to communicate this, but as far as I can think, it doesn't have anything to do with the double possessive structure itself.

Similarly, 'what promise is it of yours?' sounds quite odd, even non-standard, to me. Perhaps if I saw it in context it would sound more natural to me. The second question there is grammatically correct and means what you indicate in your last full paragraph.

I hope this helps you.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk,

Thank you very much for clearing up my doubts. Now I've got a better understanding of this structure.
With regard to the first question your reply is exactly what I needed to know. As for the second question there is not a real context. It's just a highlighted section in a grammar book of mine illustrating the difference I've quoted. Both my questions arose after reading about the double possessive in two different grammar books of mine. Both authors are Italian scholars so when you say that that example souds odd and even non-standard I think it depends on the fact that neither is a native speaker of English although, I should imagine, they ought to know what they're talking (and writing) about, oughtn't they?

Thanks again and
All the best.

You have made a mistake in the table above. In the column ''Possessives adjectives'' should be written ''hers'' not ''her''.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

Hello annkec,

Thanks, but 'her' is a possessive adjective - 'hers' is a possessive pronoun.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

How can you say you're a fan of someone? Fox example, "I am a fan of Girls' Generation"..Is it correct? Or should I say "I am a fan of Girls' Generation's", following the example above "I am a friend of Susan's" ?

Hello PamNa,

Language evolves in unexpected ways and this is a good example of how the language has evolved. When using people's names in this kind of phrase the 's is common (though it is possible to say 'of Susan' too). However, when talking about other things, including groups, teams and so on, we do not use 's. For example:

I'm a fan of Frank Sinatra. [correct]

I'm a fan of Frank Sinatra's. [correct]

I'm a fan of Manchester United. [correct]

I'm a fan of Manchester United's. [incorrect]

Note that sometimes the choice can change the meaning, with certain phrases. For example:

That's a photo of Susan. [she is in the picture]

That's a photo of Susan's. [it belongs to her]

I hope that helps to clarify it for you. It's an interesting and tricky area - thank you for the question!

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team