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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


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?



Shouldn't it be "hers" in the options at the top? not just her.
its, your, my, their, our, herS, his

Hello tonyo,

'hers' is a possessive pronoun, whereas 'her' is a possessive adjective, so actually the list at the top of the page is correct. You'll find 'hers' on our possessives: pronouns page.

I changed the table at the top to say 'Possessive Adjective' instead of just 'Possessive' to help make it clearer. Thanks for telling us about this – you've helped us improve the site!

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, I'm quite confused about the use of the possessive adjective "their". Could you kindly tell me if it is right to say:

They didn't follow their superior's advice and brought their laptop.

Should I say "their laptops" ? Or should I say "their laptop"?

Hello ging-gong,

In this sentence 'their' refers to the subject ('they'). It can be followed with 'laptop' (if it is one laptop shared by 'them') or 'laptops' (if it is a number of laptops).

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

what is the difference between determiners (possessives) and possessive adjective.

Hello neh7272,

Possessive adjectives are one kind of determiner. For more information, see here and here.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

may be this is a stupid question but why can not we use 'his' with dog in a sentence or exercise above, after all he is a dog not a 'bitch'? I think we should use 'he' 'and she' with humans only'.

Hello munish064,

We use 'dog' as the general word to mean the animal. It can mean a male rather than a female, which is called a bitch, as you say, but we only distinguish when it is necessary or when we are talking about our own pet; otherwise we say 'dog' and 'it'. However, in this sentence there is no indication whether the animal is a male or female, and so we would use 'it'.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Can i use it's in place of its

Hello faisal.iqbal,

These are quite different - though many people confuse them, including native speakers.

Its (no apostrophe) is a possessive form:

This is the dog, and this is the dog's tail > This is the dog and this is its tail.

It's (with an apostrophe) is a contracted form:

It is a nice day > It's a nice day

It has got two doors > It's got two doors

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team