Possessive Pronouns - Explore What is, Rules and Examples

Human beings are always known to care a lot about people they are related to and things they own. Possessive pronouns are used to indicate the ownership of something or someone. You can learn more about possessive pronouns, its usage and examples in this article.

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What is a Possessive Pronoun?

A possessive pronoun is a pronoun that is used to show your possession or ownership of someone or something. It indicates that it belongs to that particular person and no one else. Possessive pronouns can be used instead of a noun phrase to avoid any repetition.

Definition of a Possessive Pronoun

The Macmillan Dictionary defines a possessive pronoun as “a pronoun such as ‘mine’, ‘theirs’ or ‘yours’ that shows who something relates to or belongs to. In the sentence ‘He has his problems and I have mine’, ‘mine’ refers to ‘my problems’, and in the sentence ‘They want to buy the house next door to ours’, ‘ours’ refers to ‘our house’.” According to the Oxford Learners’ Dictionary, ‘a pronoun or a form of a word that expresses the fact that something belongs to somebody/something’ is referred to as a possessive pronoun.

Understanding How to Use Possessive Pronouns in Sentences

A noun can generally be used as a possessive noun just by adding an apostrophe and an ‘s’ at the end of the noun. Similarly, pronouns can be used to show possession too. It is not by adding an apostrophe or an ‘s’. There are pronouns that exclusively function in order to show that a particular person, animal or object belongs to a particular someone.

  • For the personal pronoun, ‘I’, the possessive pronoun would be ‘mine’.

For example, to indicate that ‘I own that blue car.’, it can be written as ‘That blue car is mine.’

  • For the personal pronoun ‘we’, the possessive pronoun would be ‘ours’.

For example, to indicate that ‘the project that won the first prize belongs to us’, it can be written as ‘The project that won the first prize was ours.’

  • Similarly, for the personal pronoun, ‘he’, the possessive pronoun would be ‘his’.

For example: It is Kim’s pet cat.

It is his pet cat.

  • For the personal pronoun, ‘she’, the possessive pronoun would be ‘hers’.

For example: The flowers Vanessa brought were better than the flowers Sheena brought.

The flowers Vanessa brought were better than hers.

  • For the personal pronoun, ‘you’, the possessive pronoun would be ‘yours’.

For example: Do you think my handwriting is better than your handwriting?

Do you think my handwriting is better than yours?

  • For the personal pronoun, ‘they’, the possessive pronoun would be ‘theirs’.

If something belongs to a group of people, it is indicated by the possessive pronoun ‘theirs’.

For example: The musical performance of the second group was more innovative than the fourth group.

The musical performance of the second group was more innovative than theirs.

Examples of Possessive Pronouns

Let us look at some possessive pronouns examples to have a better idea of how to use them in sentences.

  • Bobby is one of my brothers.

Bobby is a brother of mine.

  • Does the book belong to you?

Is this book yours?

  • That little girl is my daughter, and this one is her daughter.

That little girl is my daughter, and this one is hers.

  • The cake Diana baked last week is not as good as your cake.

The cake Diana baked last week is not as good as yours.

  • It was not your fault, but it was their fault.

It was not your fault but theirs.

Its vs It’s

Why not find out the answer to the never-ending conundrum of using its or it’s?

This is confusing for most second language learners because the general rule for showing possession over something or someone is by adding an apostrophe and an ‘s’. Now, the only thing that you have to keep in mind is that it works a little differently as far as the pronoun ‘it’ is concerned.

Unlike other possessive nouns, the pronoun ‘it’ takes ‘its’ as the possessive form of pronoun and not it’s. ‘It’s’ here is a contraction and means ‘it is’. It is similar to other contractions like ‘don’t’, which means ‘do not’, ‘can’t’ which means ‘cannot’, ‘won’t’ which means ‘will not’, ‘you’re’ which means ‘you are’ and so on.

Test Your Knowledge on Possessive Pronouns

Let us now check your understanding of possessive pronouns. Substitute the underlined words with suitable possessive pronouns:

1. Marianne liked my cookies more than your cookies.

2. Sherlock, is that your car?

3. Did you find the cat’s bell?

4. That is not their car. This black one is their car.

5. Whose bike is this? Is it his bike?

Find your answers here.

1. Marianne liked my cookies more than yours.

2. Sherlock, is that yours?

3. Did you find its bell?

4. That is not their car. This black one is theirs.

5. Whose bike is this? Is it his?

Frequently Asked Questions on Possessive Pronouns

What is a possessive pronoun?

A possessive pronoun is a pronoun that is used to show your possession or ownership of someone or something. It indicates that it belongs to that particular person and no one else.

What is the definition of a possessive pronoun?

The Macmillan Dictionary defines possessive pronouns as “a pronoun such as ‘mine’, ‘theirs’ or ‘yours’ that shows who something relates to or belongs to. In the sentence ‘He has his problems and I have mine’, ‘mine’ refers to ‘my problems’, and in the sentence ‘They want to buy the house next door to ours’, ‘ours’ refers to ‘our house’.” According to the Oxford Learners’ Dictionary, ‘a pronoun or a form of a word that expresses the fact that something belongs to somebody/something’ is referred to as a possessive pronoun.

What are some examples of possessive pronouns?

Mine, yours, his, hers, its and theirs are the different possessive pronouns.

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