Possessives in Spanish Grammar

Introduction

Possessives adjectives and pronouns (los posesivos) indicate possession or belonging. They always agree in gender and number with the noun they refer to i.e the thing that is possessed.

Possessive adjectives (adjetivos posesivos) have two forms, a long form and a short form. As in English grammar, they always accompany a noun. Possessive pronouns (pronombres posesivos), however, replace a noun.

Learn how to use Spanish possessive adjectives and pronouns with Lingolia’s simple grammar lesson. In the exercises, you can practise what you have learnt.

Example

Me llamo Julia y estoy buscando mi sombrero. Mi papá dice que está en el armario, pero ese no es el mío, es el suyo. Mis sombreros no están allí. ¡Mira! Nuestro perro lleva el suyo.

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Possessive Adjectives – Short Forms

Possessive adjectives in Spanish grammar have two forms, a long one and a short one. The short forms of possessive adjectives, or adjetivos posesivos átonos, are you in the same way as possessive determiners in English grammar, they always come before a noun. Because they function as adjectives they must agree in gender and number with the noun they relate to. However, only the 1st and 2nd person plural have a different feminine form:

Example:
Estoy buscando mi sombrero.I’m looking for my hat.
Ella busca su sombrero.She’s looking for her hat.
Nuestro perro lleva un sombrero. Our dog is wearing a hat.
Nuestra gata no tiene sombrero.Our cat doesn’t have a hat.
person singular plural
1st person singular mi mis
2nd person singular tu tus
3rd person singular su sus
1st person plural nuestro/-a nuestros/-as
2nd person plural vuestro/-a vuestros/-as
3rd person plural su sus

Possessive Adjectives – Long Forms

The long forms of possessive adjective (adjetivos posesivos tónicos) always come after the noun they refer to. They agree in gender and number with that noun. In English, we generally use of + possessive pronoun in this situation.

Example:
Es una conocida mía.She’s an acquaintance of mine.
Amigos nuestros nos recomendaron ese hotel.Friends of ours recommended this hotel.
Me gusta mucho esa autora. He leído varios libros suyos. I really like this author. I’ve read several books of hers.
singular plural
person masculine feminine masculine feminine
1st person singular mío mía míos mías
2nd person singular tuyo tuya tuyos tuyas
3rd person singular suyo suya suyos suyas
1st person plural nuestro nuestra nuestros nuestras
2nd person plural vuestro vuestra vuestros vuestras
3rd person plural suyo suya suyos suyas

Long from possessive adjective are used with the verb ser, when the noun forms part of the subject of a sentence. Here again, they must agree in number and person with the noun and person with the subject.

Example:
Este reloj es mío.This clock is mine.
possessor: yo (1st person singular); object possessed: el reloj (masculine, singular)
Los cuadros de la pared son nuestros.The pictures on the wall are ours.
possessor: nosotros (1st person plural); object possessed: Los cuadros (masculine, plural)

Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns (pronombres posesivos) replace a previously-mentioned noun. The possessive pronoun must agree in gender and number with this noun. Possessive pronouns are preceded by the definite article.

Example:
No es mi sombrero, es el suyo.It’s not my hat, it’s his.
No encuentro mi falda. ¿Puedo ponerme la tuya?I can’t find my skirt. Can I borrow yours?
person singular plural
masculine feminine masculine feminine
1st person singular el mío la mía los míos las mías
2nd person singular el tuyo la tuya los tuyos las tuyas
3rd person singular el suyo la suya los suyos las suyas
1st person plural el nuestro la nuestra los nuestros las nuestras
2nd person plural el vuestro la vuestra los vuestros las vuestras
3rd person plural el suyo la suya los suyos las suyas