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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Submitted by Prap on Fri, 02/03/2018 - 09:46

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Dear Sir Would you mind telling me which of the following sentences is correct and why? (a). My house is bigger than yours. (b). My house is bigger than that of yours. I thought both were correct, but one of friends confronted me saying that in such cases as this 'yours' should be preceded by 'that/those of'. My question is who is right - me or my friend?

Hello Prap,

Sentence A is correct. Possessive pronouns like 'yours' are preceded by 'of' when they qualify a noun (e.g. 'a friend of yours'), but that is not the case here.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Dev.D on Tue, 27/02/2018 - 19:28

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Your smile "makes" or "make" which is correct and why?

Hello Dev.D,

The correct answer is 'makes' because 'smile' is a singular count noun. If it were plural then we would use a plural verb:

You smile makes me happy.

Their smiles make me happy.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Jake_vera on Sat, 16/12/2017 - 21:33

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Hello, I have a question. Is it "Susan is one of my friends." Or "Susan is one of my friend." Which one is correct and please explain me why? Thanks.

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 17/12/2017 - 07:50

In reply to by Jake_vera

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Hello Jake_vera,

The plural form 'friends' is needed because when you say 'one of...' you must be referring to a group of more than just one person.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Yuriy UA on Thu, 14/12/2017 - 17:48

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Hello The LearnEnglish Team, Could you help, please, and give a piece of advice on which possessive pronoun to use before the noun "family" in the sentence given below, provided that the writer is a child (not a parent having his/her own family) and there is not any preceding context. Could there be "my" instead of "our"? Some say there must be ONLY "our" (not "my") as a child can't have his/her own family: "All the members of our family get together in the living room every evening." It seems to me "our" would be a great choice if there was some information (or any) about siblings or at least about parents. Am I right? Many thanks for your help. Best regards, Yuriy.
Sorry, while referring to "my" and "our" I mistakenly defined them as "possessive pronouns". Actually, they must be referred to as possessive determiners or possessive adjectives.

Hello Yuriy,

Both 'my' and 'our' are possible even if the child who is speaking has no brothers or sisters. It is enough that the family contains more than just the speaker for 'our' to be possible. After all, the family 'belongs' to the mother and father as much as the child or children. There is no need for any earlier explanation as a family by definition cannot be just one person. Thus, it would be perfectly fine to say this:

Our family is small - just my mother and myself - but we always meet and have Christmas dinner together.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Wang Zijian on Tue, 05/12/2017 - 13:30

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Can we say "I'm a son of Stark" or do we have to say "I’m a son of Stark’s”? Thanks!

Hello Wang Zijian,

I understand that 'Stark' refers to one person, not to a family. As the page states, we use the 's form after of and so the correct form is I'm a son of Stark's.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

However, when the 'Stark' refers to a family, we can say 'I am a son of the Starks', am I right?

Hello Wang Zijijan,

If the word is plural (Starks) then you would use the plural possessive form:

I am a son of the Starks'

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by iphie on Tue, 28/11/2017 - 14:45

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Hi, Please i always have problem using: It is, It's, Its and Its' Can you clarify me on this with examples. Thanks

Submitted by Kirk on Wed, 29/11/2017 - 07:50

In reply to by iphie

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Hello iphie,

'It is' and 'it's' mean the same thing. The 's in 'it's' is a contracted form of the verb 'is'. We often use contracted forms in speaking and informal writing.

'Its' is a possessive form. If we're talking about a house, for example, we could say 'its roof is red'. Here 'its roof' is another way of saying 'the house's roof'.

'Its'' is not spelt correctly in standard English.

I hope that helps you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by poinsettia.noel on Mon, 18/09/2017 - 14:02

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why I am a friend of Susan's. but not I am a friend of Susan ? and why we have to add the 's after Susan so that sentence could be corrected? could you answer for me? thanks in advance!!

Hello poinsettia.noel,

It is strange, isn't it? I'm afraid this is just what is correct. If I knew of a way to explain it better, I would tell you, but I'm afraid I don't!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by SonuKumar on Wed, 02/08/2017 - 07:54

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Sir, A king took sonu's bag and gave him his own bag. Now I think here 'his own bag' refers to The king's own bag doesn't it ? and is it necessary to put 'own' in this sentence ?

Submitted by Arun Sooknarine on Mon, 19/06/2017 - 05:37

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hey guys !!! I was wondering how is the possessive pronoun "its" used. Thanks in advance

Hi Arun Sooknarine,

We use the pronoun its in the same way we use hers or his, with the difference that we use its when we are describing something which is not a person. However, it is quite rare as in many contexts it can be ambiguous, and so we usually prefer to use the noun rather than this particular pronoun. We also tend to avoid the possessive pronoun its at the end of a sentence.

It is possible to come up with examples. Imagine you are looking at a friend's car. You might say My car's colour is ugly but its is quite nice.

Even this example is rather awkward in my view and 'this one's' would be preferable. It is grammatically correct to use its here, however.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by davidChoubey on Fri, 02/06/2017 - 01:56

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Hello everybody I have a question on possessive noun. Anybody please offer me their feedback on the correctness or wrongness of the following sentence: " This is Samantha's new car which is bought by hers elder son Matthew , after his marriage" please feel free to inform any kind of mistake in the above sentence, but i am specifically interested to know that "is it correct to use HERS ELDER SON MATTHEW instead of HER ELDER SON MATTHEW " Thanks Thanks

Hello davidChoubey,

The correct form here is 'her' not 'hers'. We do not use possessive pronouns (like 'hers') before nouns. You can read more about this here and here.

I think a past form would be required here as well, making the correct sentence

This is Samantha's new car which wass bought by hers elder son Matthew after his marriage.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Caveat typo.... "was" , and, "her elder son", I think you mean!! This is Samantha's new car which was bought by her elder son Matthew after his marriage.

Submitted by Atlas on Thu, 25/05/2017 - 01:18

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CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY: We can use 'own' as a pronoun after a possessive determiner (e.g. my, his, their). We often use it in the pattern noun + of + possessive determiner + own: eg 'Did you have a flat- of your own- when you were a student, or did you share?' THE ABOVE EXAMPLE USES POSSESSIVE DETERMINER/ADJECTIVE 'YOUR'. HOW DOES THIS MAKE 'OWN' A PRONOUN ? HOW DOES 'OWN' EXPRESS A NOUN? Thank you.

Hello AITKINS,

I'm afraid we don't comment on what other grammars or books say, but I can confirm that 'own' can indeed act as a pronoun in some cases. For example, imagine you offer to lend me your car to go to work, since mine isn't working very well. I could say, 'No, thanks. I'll go in my own.'

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Chiranjib Sahoo on Wed, 17/05/2017 - 17:50

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Hello, Could you please tell me which of these two sentences is correct: "I don't have faith in me" or "I don't have faith in myself"? Thank you.

Submitted by Peter M. on Thu, 18/05/2017 - 07:05

In reply to by Chiranjib Sahoo

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Hello Chiranjib Sahoo,

The normal way to say this is with 'myself'. You can read more about this on this page.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank You, Peter. The reference helped me understand the usage of reflexive pronouns better. Regards, Chiranjib

Submitted by Mahmoud Darwesh on Thu, 06/04/2017 - 10:52

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It was a good lesson! Thank you for your help.

Submitted by sumanasc on Sat, 25/02/2017 - 06:35

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Hi Please help me with the following . He says his surname is Smith . What is your surname . In the above sentence his surname and your surname , which word is the possessive adjective and possessive pronoun. Thank you

Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 25/02/2017 - 07:22

In reply to by sumanasc

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Hi sumanasc,

Both 'your' and 'his' in these sentences are possessive adjectives.

Possessive pronouns are used to replace a noun phrase. For example:

This is my car. [possessive adjective + noun]

This is mine. [possessive pronoun]

Is this your book? No, it's his book. [possessive adjectives + nouns]

Is this yours? No, it's his. [possessive pronouns]

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi! I have a question, I was faced with an exercise where I had to rewrite a couple of things, so as to avoid repeting nouns: A: Is this your book? B: It is your book. My book is in my bag. I'd really like to know if what follows, could be a possible answer: A: Is this your book? B: No, it isn't. Mine is in my bag. Thank you!!

Submitted by Kirk on Sat, 06/05/2017 - 07:51

In reply to by Erica Alejandra

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Hello Erica,

Yes, that works. You could also say 'No, it's yours. Mine is in the bag'.

By the way, it can take us some time to answer comments. Please be patient -- we will answer as soon as we can.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Zayed Haq on Sat, 11/02/2017 - 18:06

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Hi, Can we use apostrophe with pronouns like them, you. I want to know is it correct to say ''All of them's cars were parked outside'' ?. Thanks

Hi Zayed Haq,

No, those are not correct forms. The correct form is the possessive adjective:

All of their cars were parked outside'.'

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks, could you explain whether these two sentences have the same meaning or not. 1) ''All of their cars were parked outside.'' & 2) ''Everyone's car was parked outside''. Can we use ''All of their'' instead of ''Everyone's''? Kindly make clear.

Hello Zayed Haq,

In most contexts the meanings of these sentences is the same, yes. 'All of their' may refer to a particular group, of course, rather than describing everyone, but this will depend on the context.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Waleedburke on Fri, 10/02/2017 - 18:11

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Hi. Could you give me examples and explanation on ( Its ) as a possessive pronoun , please ?

Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 11/02/2017 - 08:19

In reply to by Waleedburke

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Hi Walid123,

Here are three examples:

  • The cat licked its paw.
  • I liked the house. Its style was modern but its materials were quite traditional.
  • Its screen was dirty so I wiped it with a cloth.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi. Peter Thanks for your answer but I think in these examples ( its ) is a possessive adjective not a possessive pronoun Actually I know how to use the possessive pronouns ( mine, yours, ours...etc ) but I am not ok with its as a possessive pronoun ). Best wishes Walid 123

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 12/02/2017 - 07:58

In reply to by Waleedburke

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Hi Walid123,

My apologies! I read your question rather quickly and assumed (incorreclty) that you were interested in the use of its as a possessive form as opposed to it's as a contracted verb.

Although grammatically speaking we could use its as a possessive pronoun, in practice we do not. Instead we use the full noun:

Whose are those footprints?

I thought they were yours.

No, they're not. They must be the dog's.

Although its would be possible, particularly if the dog were present so that the speaker could visually indicate it, the sentence would be clumsy and highly unlikely in normal speech.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by airbinder on Wed, 08/02/2017 - 17:30

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I spoke about a friend of mine. I have never read one from book of mine. These sentences are correct, or not?

Hello airbinder,

The first sentence is correct and the second is not, but the use of 'mine' is correct in both sentences. It's not clear how the second sentence should be changed as we don't know the context. For example, we don't know what 'one' refers to.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Romantic on Fri, 27/01/2017 - 15:17

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please i need to ask My parents are from London,So is mine or so are mine..... and why?

Hello Romantic,

The correct form would be

So are mine.

'Parents' is a plural noun and so a plural noun is required.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by cauxi_99 on Mon, 23/01/2017 - 21:40

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Would it be correct "the work of Cervantes" or "the work of Cervantes' "? Thank you in advance.

Hello cauxi_99,

There is no need for an apostrophe here so the correct form would be:

the work of Cervantes

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team