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