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Possessive Pronouns

Possessive Pronouns

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Possessive Pronouns

 

Hello! In this lesson, we will learn the possessive pronouns.  In previous lessons, we learned the personal pronouns and object pronouns. We also learned about the about the neuter pronoun “it” which refers to a range of places, things, and ideas.

Possessive pronouns are a way of expressing ownership without using a person's name.The possessive pronouns are "my, mine, your, yours, his, her, hers, our, ours, their, theirs" and "its".  The possessive pronouns are neither formal nor informal.

There are two kinds of possessive pronouns.  One kind must be used with a noun. The other kind of possessive pronoun stands alone, in place of a noun that has already been named.

We will learn the possessive pronouns one at a time and then listen to some of them as they are used in a dialog.

The first kind of possessive pronoun for the personal pronoun "I" is "my".  For example, David might say "This is my chair." The second kind of possessive pronoun for "I" is "mine". Using this kind of possessive pronoun, David would say "This chair is mine.".

The first kind of possessive pronoun for the personal pronoun "you" is "your". For example, Jennifer answer David's question "Yes, that is your chair." The second kind of possessive pronoun for "you" is "yours". Jennifer might say "Yes, that chair is yours."

The first kind of possessive pronoun for the personal pronoun "he" is "his". For example, David might say "I like my office, and Mr. Jones likes his office."The second kind of possessive pronoun for "he" is also "his".David could say "I like my office, and Mr. Jones likes his."

The first kind of possessive pronoun for the personal pronoun "she" is "her". For example, Jennifer might say "Mr. Jones likes his office, and Mrs. Jones likes her office, too."The second kind of possessive pronoun for "she" is "hers". Jennifer might say "Mr. Jones likes his office, and Mrs. Jones likes hers, too."

The first kind of possessive pronoun for the personal pronoun "we" is "our". Jennifer and David might say "This is our apartment." The second kind of possessive pronoun for "we" is "ours". Jennifer and David might say "This apartment is ours."

The first kind of possessive pronoun for the personal pronoun "they" is "their". For example, David might say "Mr. and Mrs. Smith like their apartment."He might also say "We like our apartment and they like theirs." Unlike the previously mentioned possessive pronouns, the possessive pronouns "their" and "theirs" and can refer to people, places, things, and ideas. It is not limited to people.

The only kind of possessive pronoun for the neuter pronoun "it" is "its".  The possessive pronoun "its" is used to refer to animals and inanimate things, never in reference to people.  

Now that you have an idea of how to use the possessive pronouns, listen to the dialog. In this dialog, David and Jennifer are looking out the window of their apartment and talking about what they see.

 

David:  Our apartment building is tall.

 

Jennifer: Yes, ours is tall. I like our apartment building.

 

David: I see Mr. and Mrs. Jones. Their apartment building is small.

 

Jennifer: Yes, theirs is small. They like theirs, and we like ours.

 

David: Mr. Jones likes his office.

 

Jennifer: Mrs. Jones likes hers, too.

 

David: Their offices are big.

 

Jennifer: Theirs are big, and yours is not big.

 

David. Mine is fine. I like mine.

 

Jennifer: I like yours, too.

 

Now that you know how to use the possessive pronouns, let us take a closer look at the ways they are used in the dialog.

 

After David says "Our apartment building is tall", Jennifer says "Yes, ours is tall." Since David has previously referred to "our apartment building", Jennifer can use the stand-alone possessive pronoun "ours".

 

She could have repeated "our apartment building" She could have answered "Yes, our apartment building is tall.".

 

David refers to "Mr. and Mrs. Jones". He says "Their apartment building is small.".  Since David has previously referred to "their apartment building", Jennifer can use the stand-alone possessive pronoun "theirs".

 

She could have repeated "their apartment building" She could have answered "Yes, their apartment building is small.".

 

After David says "Mr. Jones likes his office.", Jennifer can use the stand-alone possessive pronoun "hers" to refer to the office that belongs to Mrs. Jones. She could also have said "Mrs. Jones likes her office, too.". After David says "Theirs are big.", referring to the offices that belong to Mr. and Mrs. Jones, Jennifer says "Theirs are big, and yours is not big.", referring to the offices that belong to Mr. and Mrs. Jones and to David.

 

Notice that the verb "are" refers to more than one office, but the possessive pronoun stays the same whether we are referring to one thing or many things.

 

Listen to the dialog once again. Pay attention to the possessive pronoun and difference in the usage of the possessive pronouns that are used with nouns and the possessive pronouns that are able to stand alone.

 

David:  Our apartment building is tall.

 

Jennifer:  Yes, ours is tall. I like our apartment building.

 

David: I see Mr. and Mrs. Jones. Their apartment building is small.

 

Jennifer: Yes, theirs is small. They like theirs, and we like ours.

 

David: Mr. Jones likes his office.

 

Jennifer: Mrs. Jones likes hers, too.

 

David: Their offices are big.

 

Jennifer: Theirs are big, and yours is not big.

 

David. Mine is fine. I like mine.

 

Jennifer: I like yours, too.

 

Excellent work! Your language ability is growing. Now that you know how to use possessive pronouns, you can discuss a wide range of things that belong to you and others in English.