What Are Possessive Adjectives?

What Are Possessive Adjectives?

A possessive adjective modifies a noun or a pronoun to show who (or what) owns something. For example:

possessive adjective

Here is a list of the possessive adjectives:
  • my
  • your
  • his
  • her
  • its
  • our
  • their
  • whose

Examples of Possessive Adjectives

Here are some examples of possessive adjectives in sentences:

Subjective
Pronoun
Possessive
Adjective
Example
I my I like my new car.
you your You can leave your hat on.
he his He accidentally cut his finger.
she her She plays to her strengths.
it its It will show its teeth.
we our We have our reasons.
they their They washed their hands.
who whose Whose writing is this?

Examples of Possessive Adjectives

Here are some more examples of possessive adjectives in sentences:
  • My head goes woozy when you climb your ladder.
  • Take his spoon and put it by your plate.
  • She got her looks from her father. He's a plastic surgeon. (Groucho Marx)
  • It only wants its ball back.

Possessive Adjectives and Possessive Pronouns

Here is a list of personal pronouns with their corresponding possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns (i.e., their possessive forms):

Personal PronounPossessive Form
Possessive AdjectivePossessive Pronoun
Imymine
youyouryours
hehishis
sheherhers
itits[not used]
weourours
theytheirtheirs
whowhosewhose


Beware

Possessive Adjectives Are Technically Possessive Pronouns

A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun. As possessive adjectives replace nouns, you will occasionally (and rather unhelpfully) see them classified as possessive pronouns. Look at this example:
  • This is Sarah's hat.
  • This is her hat.
  • (In this example, the possessive adjective her replaces Sarah. That's why it's classified as a pronoun as well as an adjective.)
It is more helpful to group possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns under the term possessive form. This helps to differentiate between possessive adjectives (e.g., my, your, her) and possessive pronouns (e.g., mine, yours, hers).

See Also

Take a test on possessive adjectives What are possessive pronouns? What are absolute possessive pronouns? What are adjectives? What are nouns? What are pronouns? Indefinite adjectives Interrogative adjectives Predicate adjectives Glossary of grammatical terms