Spanish Possessive Adjectives

My Hat, Your Hat: Understanding Possessive Adjectives

Singular Noun**Plural Noun**Translationmimismytutusyour (familiar)susustheir, your, his, her , itsnuestro/anuestros/asourvuestro/avuestros/asyour (formal)

These types of adjectives are used to express possession or ownership. When the pronoun is singular, these adjectives do not change according to gender. However, when the pronoun is plural (nosotros or vosotros), the possessive adjectives do reflect the gender of the subject noun.

As you can see from the table above, all possessive adjectives reflect the quantity of the noun to which they refer.

What is Owned v. Who Owns It

It may seem confusing to distinguish between the pronoun (e.g., I, you, we, them) implied by the possessive adjective, and the noun that is the subject of the sentence. Possessive adjectives will not reflect the gender or quantity of the person or persons owning a thing; rather, they’ll reflect the gender and quantity of the thing being owned.

For example, take the sentence, “My hands are sore.”

What is the subject? hands (in Spanish, manos) What is the possessive adjective? my (in Spanish, mis) What is the descriptive adjective? sore (in Spanish, doloridas)

Both the possessive and descriptive adjectives will reflect the gender and quantity of the subject noun, “hands.”

Por ejemplo:

El color de mi vestido es negro.

The color of my dress is black.

Sus padres están enfermos.

Their parents are sick.

Nuestras carteras son iguales.

Our handbags are the same.

This is All Mine

There is another way of referring to what you own. You may wish to say, “That car is mine,” or, “The purse is hers.” Use one of the following words.

Singular**Plural**Translationmío/amíos/asmine, mytuyo/atuyos/asyour, yourssuyo/asuyos/ashis, her, hers, its, your, yoursnuestro/anuestros/asour, oursvuestro/avuestros/asyour, yours

Por ejemplo:

El carro es mío.

The car is mine.

The handbag is hers.

La cartera es suya.

The apples are ours.

Las manzanas son nuestras.

Just like an ordinary adjective, you must match the gender (masculine or feminine) and quantity (singular or plural) of the stressed possessive adjective to the noun.

You can also use one of these words to replace the noun. Look at the difference between the following sentences:

Is this seat yours? - ¿Es este asiento suyo? I don’t want to use yours. - No quiero usar el tuyo.

In the first sentence, “yours” is acting as an adjective. In the second sentence, “yours” is acting as a pronoun.

To use mío, tuyo, suyo, etc. as pronouns, all you have to do is add an el, la, los, or las in front.

For example, if you want to use “mine” as a noun (as in, “Mine is the best,” or, “You want mine”), you will use el mío, la mía, los míos, or las mías.

Por ejemplo:

  1. ¿Tienes tú los libros de la biblioteca?

    – Sí, y también tengo los míos.

    - Do you have the books from the library?

    – Yes, and mine too.

    1. ¿Mi casa está muy desordenada, y la tuya?

    – La mía está muy limpia.

    - My house is very messy, and yours?

    - Mine is very clean.

    1. ¡Las flores en mi jardín están todas secas!

    ¿Las tuyas también, no?

    - The flowers in my garden are all dry!

    Yours are too, aren’t they?

For more on Spanish Adjectives, check out this lesson: Spanish Demonstrative Adjectives