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Possessives: adjectives

Level: beginner

Subject Object Possessive adjective
I me my 
you you your
he him his
she her her
it it its
we us our
they them their

We use possessive adjectives:

  • to show something belongs to somebody:

That's our house.
My car is very old.

  • for relations and friends:

My mother is a doctor.
How old is your sister?

  • for parts of the body:

He's broken his arm.
She's washing her hair.
I need to clean my teeth.

Possessives: adjectives

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Be careful!

The possessive adjective its does not have an apostrophe ('):

That bird has broken its (NOT it's) wing.

(it's always means it is or it has.)

its or it's?

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Comments

Hello teacher.
I have an example :
The bird is standing on the branch, the big nest nearby is its.
Is above sentence correct ?
"Its" is possessive adjective or possessive pronoun or both of them ?
Thanks !

Hi Jack,

It's a good question! Its is an adjective, but not a pronoun (see the full list on our Possessive pronouns page). So, in this sentence, I'd add a noun, for example:

  • The big nest nearby is its nest.
  • Its nest is the big one nearby.

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, in a sentence : The dog eat its bone.
The possessive adjetive "its" include two meanings :
The dog's bone and the bone people give. Is it correst, teacher ?

Hello Jack,

'its' just indicates some kind of relationship between the bone and the dog. In most cases, it's safe to assume that the bone belongs to the dog.

The form 'its' indicates a kind of possession. The form 'it's' is a short form of 'it is'. In the sentence you ask about, 'it's' wouldn't be correct.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi!
In the first set of exercises, number 7, ¿shouldn't be "anymore" and not "any more"?
Thanks

Hi Claudia,

Good question. In British English, any more is written as two words, in both of its uses – as a quantifier/determiner, and as an adverb. American English often uses anymore (one word) for the adverb.

Have a look at this page for more examples: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/any-more-or-anymore

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, many gracks to complement my information, I was a little confused regarding the use of the apostrophe in possessive pronouns, complement my doubts by watching a video, thank you. regards!

I find the notion 'possessive adjective' to be quite a confusing misnomer. These truly do not operate like adjectives at all which is why they 'also' are called 'possessive determiner' which to some degree goes far better with the German term 'Possessivartikel'. For example, one aspect that sure doesn't have me classify these as 'adjectives' is the lack of any superlatives. I mean, please tell me there can never be a 'much yourer or yourest house'.

In English, determiners classed as possessive adjectives are given this term because (like adjectives) they modify their head noun to show possession, together they form a noun phrase.

This classification is not unique to English (in French, it's termed 'les adjectifs possessifs')

Hello tbeer,

My apologies if this has caused you any confusion. In fact, I agree with you and I expect that most people who concern themselves with such things for their own sake would as well.

Please note that this is a learner grammar, which means that is intended to help people gain a certain level of proficiency with using the language rather than describe it in a completely coherent way.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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