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Possessive Pronouns

We use possessive pronouns to refer to a specific person/people or thing/things (the "antecedent") belonging to a person/people (and sometimes belonging to an animal/animals or thing/things).

We use possessive pronouns depending on:

  • number: singular (eg: mine) or plural (eg: ours)
  • person: 1st person (eg: mine), 2nd person (eg: yours) or 3rd person (eg: his)
  • gender: male (his), female (hers)

Below are the possessive pronouns, followed by some example sentences. Notice that each possessive pronoun can:

  • be subject or object
  • refer to a singular or plural antecedent
number person gender (of "owner") possessive pronouns
singular 1st male/ female mine
2nd male/ female yours
3rd male his
female hers
plural 1st male/ female ours
2nd male/ female yours
3rd male/ female/ neuter theirs
  • Look at these pictures. Mine is the big one. (subject = My picture)
  • I like your flowers. Do you like mine? (object = my flowers)

  • I looked everywhere for your key. I found John's key but I couldn't find yours. (object = your key)
  • My flowers are dying. Yours are lovely. (subject = Your flowers)

  • All the essays were good but his was the best. (subject = his essay)
  • John found his passport but Mary couldn't find hers. (object = her passport)
  • John found his clothes but Mary couldn't find hers. (object = her clothes)

  • Here is your car. Ours is over there, where we left it. (subject = Our car)
  • Your photos are good. Ours are terrible. (subject = Our photos)

  • Each couple's books are colour-coded. Yours are red. (subject = Your books)
  • I don't like this family's garden but I like yours. (object = your garden)

  • These aren't John and Mary's children. Theirs have black hair. (subject = Their children)
  • John and Mary don't like your car. Do you like theirs? (object = their car)
Notice that the following (with apostrophe [']) do NOT exist: her's, your's, their's

Notice that the interrogative pronoun whose can also be a possessive pronoun (an interrogative possessive pronoun). Look at these examples:

  • There was $100 on the table and Tara wondered whose it was.
  • This car hasn't moved for two months. Whose is it?

Mini Quiz

Test your understanding with this quick quiz.

1. The only type of possessive pronoun with different words for male and female genders is the

singular 1st person
singular 3rd person
plural 2rd person
a) singular 1st person b) singular 3rd person c) plural 2rd person

2. Complete with the correct possessive pronoun: "You did great in the interview, so congratulations Lee - the job's ______ !"

mine
hers
yours
a) mine b) hers c) yours

3. Complete with the correct possessive pronoun: "If the only fingerprints on the gun are ______ , he must be the killer."

hers
mine
his
a) hers b) mine c) his

Your score is:

Correct answers: