Possessive Pronouns

You will probably have noticed that the possessive pronouns have two forms – my, mine, your, yours etc.

The forms my, our, your, his, her and their are actually possessive adjectives, not pronouns. They are used before a noun.

  • My car has come.
  • This is my book.
  • It is their fault.
  • That is your coat.

The forms mine, ours, hers, theirs, yours are generally used after a noun.

  • That book is mine.
  • The fault is theirs.
  • That coat is yours.

Uses of possessive pronouns

Possessive pronouns show ownership. The possessive pronouns are yours, his, hers, ours, theirs, mine, whose.

  • Is this bag yours?
  • Yes, it’s ours.
  • Whose coat is this?
  • It’s mine.

Possessive pronouns are used without following nouns.

  • This coat is mine.
  • Which coat is yours?

We do not use articles with possessive pronouns.

  • Can I borrow your keys? I can’t find mine. (NOT I can’t find the mine.)

Note that the possessives my, your, his, her, its, our and their are determiners, not pronouns. Possessive determiners are used at the beginning of noun phrases.

  • Have you seen my new coat?

Note the spelling of the possessive its. The contraction it’s is not a possessive: it means it is or it has.

Possessive pronouns mine, ours, hers, theirs and yours can be used as the subject of a sentence. Note that possessive adjectives cannot be used like this. To be used as part of the subject, a possessive adjective has to be followed by a noun. Possessive pronouns, on the other hand, can stand alone.

  • My house is small. Theirs is big.
  • Your hair is black. Mine has turned grey.
  • His cap is blue. Yours is red.

A possessive pronoun can be used as the object of a verb.

  • He lost his pen; so I lent him mine.

A possessive pronoun can be used as the object of a preposition.

  • I prefer your company to theirs.
  • We have received no application except yours.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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