Possessives: pronouns

Level: beginner

Subject Object Possessive adjective Possessive pronoun
I me  my mine
you you your yours
he him  his his
she her  her hers
it it its -
we us  our ours
they them  their theirs

 

Be careful!

Possessive pronouns do not have an apostrophe:

Is that car yours/hers/ours/theirs?
(NOT Is that car your's/her's/our's/their's?)

We can use a possessive pronoun instead of a full noun phrase to avoid repeating words:

Is that John's car?
     No, it's mine.
 (NOT No, it's [my car].)

Whose coat is this?
     Is it yours? (NOT Is it [your coat]?)

Her coat is grey.
     Mine is brown. (NOT [My coat] is brown.)

 

Possessives: pronouns 1

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Level: intermediate

We can use possessive pronouns and nouns after of. We can say:

Susan is one of my friends. > Susan is a friend of mine.
(NOT Susan is a friend of me.)

I am one of Susan's friends. > I am a friend of Susan's.
(NOT I am a friend of Susan.)

Possessives: pronouns 2

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Soumis par taj25 le mar 10/01/2017 - 11:05

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hi kirk This is your room and that is her room. This is your room and that is "hers room." why it was appeared wrong in the task. i did correct way. best regard hussain

Soumis par Kirk le mar 10/01/2017 - 14:11

En réponse à par taj25

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Hello taj25,

The correct answer to the first sentence is 'hers', not 'hers room'. I've done the task and it looks correct to me - do you see something different?

'hers room' is not grammatical, since 'hers' is a pronoun and therefore does not go with a noun in this way.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Tchalla le dim 30/10/2016 - 07:05

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why it is wrong to say 'I am a friend of Susan'

Hello Tchalla,

It is a bit strange, isn't it? It might help to think of this as an abbreviated form of 'one friend among Susan's friends', but in the end the reason it is correct is because that's the way people write and speak.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par loaialhajjaj le mar 16/08/2016 - 17:52

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can you pls indicate the correct answers... thanks

Hello loaialhajjaj,

You can see the answers by clicking 'FInish' (after entering at least one answer) and then 'Show answers'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Ondra K le jeu 28/07/2016 - 21:56

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I have a question. If we say "Susan is a friend of mine" how about the following: "So this is a kindey?" asked a surgery student? "No, it is only one of its parts." replied the teacher. Could we rewrite the above sentence as: "No, it is only a part of its." ?

Hello Ondra K,

I'm afraid that would not be correct. The correct form would be:

No, it is only a part of it.

As I said in a previous comment, this is an area of the language which is in flux and is changing, so it can be inconsistent.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par moh505ammed le lun 25/07/2016 - 19:37

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hi, I have a question, is it correct to use "they" in this situation -- mark: are they your pens? -- me: yes, they are mine. and please explain to me why we cant use "it" instead. even when the pens are inanimate.

Soumis par Peter M. le mar 26/07/2016 - 07:41

En réponse à par moh505ammed

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Hi moh505ammed,

For plural forms we use 'they' for both animate and inanimate items. Therefore 'they' is correct here and 'it' is not as it would be used for 'pen' (singular) not 'pens' (plural). You could also use 'these' or 'those' in this sentence.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par abdallaboss le sam 09/07/2016 - 07:53

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hello what I am confused is what is wrong with saying ( I am a friend of susan )

Soumis par Peter M. le dim 10/07/2016 - 06:49

En réponse à par abdallaboss

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Hello abdallaboss,

In modern English it is acceptable to say this. Both forms are in common use:

I am a friend of Susan.

and

I am a friend of Susan's.

 

This is an example of the language changing over time, as all languages do, and something which was one seen as incorrect becoming standard use.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par The_Unknown le mer 29/06/2016 - 15:28

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Sir, in the above example [ I am a friend of Susan's and I am a friend of Susan that's incorrect ]. But in general we say I am a friend of Susan. friend of Susan's sounds weird.

Hello The_Unknown,

Traditionally, of Susan's was the correct form and it is still the most common. However, in modern English this is changing and of Susan is becoming more common. This is actually quite consistent with other similar forms such as 'an inhabitant of London', 'a man of the people', 'a citizen of the UK' and so on. I don't think either of the alternatives sounds weird, however, but this is a subjective question in any case.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Phyo Wai Maung le ven 24/06/2016 - 05:02

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Dear sir, "I and John went to a coffee bar" and "John and me went to a coffee bar" Please give me a light and which one is true? Please.. with best, PWM

Soumis par Peter M. le ven 24/06/2016 - 08:50

En réponse à par Phyo Wai Maung

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Hello Phyo Wai Maung,

I think the best option here is 'John and I' as subject pronouns are needed. We would not say 'I and John'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Toussaint Nkulu le mer 15/06/2016 - 11:53

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Hi This exercise is quite helpful, i could fine my mistake and improve from it . i made 100%

Soumis par markstevens le mar 26/04/2016 - 12:34

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Hi Can we answer like this: "of his, of hers, of theirs ..." in the above questions.

Soumis par Kirk le mar 26/04/2016 - 13:51

En réponse à par markstevens

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Hello markstevens,

No, I'm afraid those answers are not correct. The only answers that work in those specific sentences are the answers given in the exercise.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par francycus le mar 01/03/2016 - 11:28

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mmh i can see i failed on the possessive-pronouns how does it work? i did not understood well

Hello fancycus,

This is a very general question and I'm not sure which part of the topic you had particular problems with. Perhaps you can post an example sentence and we'll try to explain it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Shiv panda le jeu 25/02/2016 - 09:17

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Sir what is the difference between subject and object thank you

Soumis par Ayman Alkaddour le sam 30/01/2016 - 11:06

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hello learnenglish.britishcouncil.org staff, Thank you for your pretty and useful job that you are doing here We can say: Susan is one of my friends. or Susan is a friend of mine. but not Susan is a friend of me. neither I am a friend of Susan. Why not the last sentence?

Hello Ayman,

Although people would certainly understand you if you said 'I am a friend of Susan', that's not the way people speak; they say 'I am a friend of Susan's.' You could think of this as a shortened form of 'I am a friend of Susan's many friends', but I'd recommend just accepting that this is considered correct, even if it doesn't make complete sense.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Bonaventure le mar 26/01/2016 - 20:12

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Mr. Kirk I do not understand why there are two opinions about possessive pronouns. You say that standard English and native speakers do not say, ' He is a friend of Peter' but 'He is a friend of Peter's'. Well, there is another who says that the former could also be correct. So, which is the correct answer as both of you are native speakers? Would appreciate if you could clarify this matter.

Soumis par Kirk le mer 27/01/2016 - 07:40

En réponse à par Bonaventure

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Hello Bonaventure,

I'm afraid we don't comment on other websites or opinions. You'll have to make up your own mind on this one, though I'd encourage you to carefully check how these words are used in example sentences in dictionaries.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par MoHa-Mo le ven 25/12/2015 - 14:45

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Hello Teachers I wanna ask a question Please Which is correct ? my wife prepared a cup of tea for ( me or mine )

Hello MoHa-Mo,

After prepositions (such as 'for'), the object form of pronouns is used. So, in this case, 'me' is the form to use. See the Object pronouns section on our personal pronouns page for more on this.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par kea75 le dim 29/11/2015 - 18:47

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Hello! Could you tell me what is difference between two questions: 1) Is this coat yours? 2) Is Diana a friend of yours? Why in first question is only coat yours (without of) and in the second is a friend of mine. Tnank you in advance

Hello kea75,

In 1), 'this coat' and 'yours' are different parts of the sentence structure. 'this coat' is the subject noun phrase and 'yours' is the predicate. In 2), on the other hand, 'a friend of yours' all goes together as one predicate noun phrase. 

When we want to use a possessive adjective with a noun, there can't be a determiner in front of it – for example, we can say 'my coat' but not *'a my coat'. For this reason, the possessive structure 'of + possessive' is used: 'a coat of mine'.

I hope that clarifies it a bit for you.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par DJEMILWAIL le mer 05/08/2015 - 15:28

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Hello! On the last examples : (a) I am a friend of Susan's. (b) I am friend of susan. why (a) is correct and (b) is false؟

Soumis par Peter M. le mer 05/08/2015 - 19:03

En réponse à par DJEMILWAIL

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Hello DJEMILWAIL,

I can see why this looks an unusual use, but it is the standard use. As to why, I can only say that the rule grew up through common use, and reflects that.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Alezander09 le mar 08/09/2015 - 23:08

En réponse à par DJEMILWAIL

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B and a) it could be I am a friend of Susan's brother.

Soumis par hellomisspun le jeu 28/05/2015 - 01:36

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Hello! I'd like to check which of the following is correct (A) Mary's friends promised to take Mary to the mall. (B) Mary's friends promised to take her to the mall. From what we know of pronouns, they are used to replace a subject that has been mentioned earlier in the sentence. Is it acceptable if the the subject's name is mentioned again? Thank you very much!

Soumis par Kirk le jeu 28/05/2015 - 07:49

En réponse à par hellomisspun

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Hello hellomisspun,

Both of these sentences are correct. If it's clear from the context that 'her' refers to Mary, sentence B would be much more likely, but sentence A is not incorrect. Sentence A would be more likely when you want to be very clear about who they were taking to the mall.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Zahra Hosney le mer 20/05/2015 - 20:33

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Hello sir , I had this question in an exam and I doubt my answer . Here is the question : Jane always asks my sister and ......... for advice . A) her B) hers I went with the second choice ..

Hello Zahra,

I'm afraid that B is not correct. What is needed in this gap is some kind of object pronoun, such as 'her'.

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Advertgrwl le mar 13/01/2015 - 13:13

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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,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Knightrider le lun 27/10/2014 - 11:12

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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.