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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

Hi BC,

The Q3 says: The dog wagged _____ tall when it saw the postman.
I answered: his, but the cirrect answer is: its. Could please explain me why?
Thanks

Hello again reyeslina,

In theory, 'his', 'her' or 'its' could also be used to refer to a dog. People tend to use 'its' when they don't know the dog or don't care about it; when they do know the dog, they usually use the appropriate form ('his' or 'her') according to its gender.

In this case, the second part of the sentence ('... when it saw the postman') indicates that the speaker doesn't know this dog, so 'it's' is the only correct answer.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, as we know that adjective is tell you more about the noun. So in the above example [My car is very old.] can we consider Old as an adjective? (or Very Old as an adjective).
My is a Possessive Adjective.

Hello again The_Unknown,

Yes, 'old' is an adjective, but 'very' is an adverb. By the way, any good dictionary, such as the Cambridge Dictionary, will show you what part of speech (adverb, verb, preposition, etc.) words can be. You could also put sentences into a sentence parser to see what part of speech they are.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi. In the sentence 'My room is the biggest.' Is the word 'My' a possessive pronoun or possessive adjective? Thanks

Hello shelma,

Adjectives tell us more about a noun, while pronouns replace a noun. In this sentence, 'my' is telling us something about the noun 'room', which makes it an adjective. Also, the possessive pronoun for the first person singular ('I') is 'mine'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Louis,

When I said that (1) 'my' was telling us something about the 'noun' room and that (2) adjectives tell us something about nouns, that was a way of saying that 'my' is an adjective. If you look at our possessives: pronouns page, you'll see that 'my' is listed as an adjective; the corresponding pronoun is 'mine'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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,

Kirk

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"?

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