What are Possessive Pronouns?Possessive pronouns are words used to indicate that something belongs to someone or has a direct relationship with someone else. They are often used in speech and writing to avoid repetition. Consider this example:
- I had dinner with Jane and Jane’s brother, Michael.
- I had dinner with Jane and her brother, Michael.
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Possessive Pronouns ExamplesHere are some examples of dependent possessive pronouns in sentences:
- Does this key open my door or your door?
- I will bring my favorite beer to the party.
- She could not believe her
- His shoes were old and worn.
- They promised to do their
- Amazon sent an email to its
- Who owns this bike? Is it yours?
- That’s ours. Please don’t touch it.
- The land west of the field is theirs.
- This money is all mine.
Possessive Pronouns Rules:There are two groups of possessive pronouns:
Dependent Possessive PronounsMy, your, his, her, its, our, your (pl) and their are the dependent possessive pronouns. Sometimes called possessive adjectives, they are used to indicate ownership or a relationship. For example:
- This is my
- Is this man your husband?
- Welcome to our
- The dog chased its
- I love my
- Is Jamaica your country of birth?
- Those are her
- I lost my favourite pencil.
- Did you see her blue dress?
Independent Possessive PronounsMine, ours, yours, his, hers and theirs are the independent possessive pronouns. They are not immediately followed by a noun. You can think of them this way: they are independent because they don’t need a noun after them. For example:
- The car parked outside is mine.
- If the candy bar isn’t yours, it must belong to someone else.
- This cake is
- It is mine.
Common MistakesIt can be quite easy to mix up independent and dependent possessive pronouns. It means that we can make incorrect sentences like this:
- This is mine
- This my
|Dependent possessive pronouns||Independent possessive pronouns|
|His, Her||His, Hers|
- The boat had a red stripe on its Correct.
- The boat had a red stripe on it’s Incorrect.
- A horse swished its tail happily in the field.
Providing ClarityPossessive pronouns are designed to provide clarity on ownership by making sentences less repetitious and more concise. This will make your speech and writing easier to understand. Consider this example of a sentence that does not use possessive pronouns.
- That is Jack’s house. Jack’s neighbour, Bob, lives next door. In the park across the road from Jack’s and Bob’s houses, Jack’s and Bob’s wives are chatting.
Simplify Your SentenceAbove all, the objective of using possessive pronouns is to simplify your sentence. This will provide clarity and even give your speech and writing a sense of style. Remember these three golden rules to use possessive pronouns correctly:
- Never use an apostrophe with possessive pronouns.
- A dependent possessive pronoun is followed by a noun or a noun with an adjective modifier (it needs one because it is dependent).