How to Use Possessive Pronouns in Spanish
What are possessive pronouns in Spanish? When do you use them?
“Mine” and “yours” are examples of possessive pronouns in English. They also exist in Spanish, but we use them in a slightly different way.
In this blog post you’ll learn to identify the possessive pronouns in Spanish, use them like an expert, choose the correct form of “yours” (which is tricky)—and finally, you can test yourself with a short multiple-choice quiz.
Keep reading to master possessive pronouns in Spanish!
Table of Contents:
- What Are Possessive Pronouns?
- Possessive Pronouns Forms
- How to Choose the Right Pronoun
- How to Use Possessive Pronouns in Spanish
- Spanish Possessive Pronouns – Multiple-choice Quiz
- Possessive Pronouns in Spanish: Lesson Summary
- Practice Possessive Pronouns in a Conversation
What Are Possessive Pronouns?
First, let’s take a look at the eight English possessive pronouns:
As pronouns, they replace a noun. They’re also possessive, meaning they express ownership and possession. They also replace possessive adjectives, like mi or mía (meaning “my”).
Possessive Pronouns Forms
Spanish has just four possessive pronouns. However, they need to agree in gender and number with the noun they replace. So, there are four possible forms of each possessive pronoun.
Example Sentences in Spanish
Mi casa es grande ¿y la tuya?
My house is big. And yours?
Aquí está mi carro. ¿Dónde estacionó el suyo?
Here’s my car. Where did you park yours?
¿Son sus hijos? No, los nuestros no se comportan así.
Are they your children? No, ours don’t behave like that.
¿Es tu perro? No, el mío está ahí.
Is that your dog? No, mine is over there.
You might have noticed that the English “yours” can be translated into el tuyo or el suyo. This is because Spanish distinguishes between more formal and informal “you” when you treat people individually.
Note that you also use el suyo for singular (usted) and plural (ustedes) treatment, no matter how familiar you are with the speakers.
Let’s see how to use the correct form of “yours.”
When to Use el tuyo and el suyo
1. Amor, el tuyo está aquí. Mi teléfono está en mi mesita.
Darling, yours is here. My phone is on my bedside table.
2. Disculpe, el suyo parece no estar funcionando.
Excuse me, yours doesn’t seem to be working.
3. Señor director, la suya es una buena idea pero deberíamos considerar también la opinión de los clientes.
Mr. Director, yours is a good idea, but we should also consider the opinion of the customers.
4. Juan y Pedro, los casilleros de aquí son de los niños de primaria. Los suyos están aquí.
Juan and Pedro, the lockers here belong to the elementary school children. Yours are here.
5. Queridos alumnos míos, aquí están los resultados del grado de abajo y ahí están los suyos. Miren la diferencia.
My dear students, here are the results of the lower grade and there are yours. See the difference.
6. Señores y señoras, mis antepasados no son de aquí a diferencia de los suyos.
Ladies and gentlemen, my ancestors are not from here, unlike yours.
Alternatives to el suyo
Because el suyo can refer to so many forms, Spanish-speaking people tend to substitute this possessive pronoun when it means “his,” “hers,” and “theirs” with de él, de ella, and de ellos/as, respectively.
No es mi gato, es de él.
I’s not my cat, it’s his.
¿Dónde están todos los cuadernos? Los de él están aquí y los de ella allá.
Where are all the notebooks? His are here and hers are there.
En nuestras tierras crecen los plátanos; en las de ellos, las patatas.
In our lands, bananas grow; in theirs, potatoes.
How to Choose the Right Pronoun
You already know that the possessive pronoun you want to use depends on the noun that it replaces.
The first thing you need to do is decide whether you want a singular or a plural pronoun. The singular forms end in –o or –a, the plural ones in -os or -as. You’ll probably need to use adequate definite articles, too.
Then, choose the gender. The feminine forms end in -a and -as, the masculine ones in -o and -os. Remember to choose the correct definite article.
Possessive Pronouns Endings
For example, if you want to talk about how big your house is, in Spanish “house” is la casa.
La mía es grande.
Mine is big.
If you have more than one, you might say:
Las mías son grandes.
Mine are big.
If you want to talk about how fast your car is, then you need to know that carro in Spanish is a masculine noun.
El mío es rápido.
Mine is fast.
And once again, if you’re a happy owner of more than one car, you need to use the plural masculine form.
Los míos son rápidos.
Mine are fast.
As you can see it’s a bit more complicated than in English, but if you’re used to different gender and number forms, you’ll get the possessive pronoun forms quickly—with a bit of practice.
The Possessive Pronoun Neuter Form
When you don’t want to refer to a specific object or group of objects but simply emphasize the fact that it belongs to somebody, you use the masculine singular ending -o with a neuter definite article lo.
No hablemos de lo mío.
Let’s not talk about my things/what is mine.
Lo tuyo es absolutamente intolerable.
Your stuff (or, what you did) is absolutely intolerable.
Correr no es lo mío.
Running is not my thing.
Hand-picked for you: How to Use ‘Lo’ as the Neuter Gender in Spanish
How to Use Possessive Pronouns in Spanish
In most of the previous examples, you’ve seen the use of possessive pronouns as a subject, but you can also use them as objects in a sentence.
Let’s take a look at both cases.
As a Subject
When possessive pronouns begin a sentence, they are the subject. In this case, you have to follow them with the correct form of a verb—singular if the pronoun is singular and a plural verb if it is a plural possessive pronoun.
Lo suyo no es tan importante.
Yours is not that important.
Las suyas son blancas.
Yours are white.
As an Object
If the possessive pronouns are the object of a sentence, their place is after the verb.
Mi coche siempre gana al tuyo.
My car always beats yours.
(Note: the verb phrase ganar a means “to beat,” and a + el tuyo becomes al tuyo)
Tomaré la tuya.
I’ll take yours.
Tu perro ama el nuestro.
Your dog loves ours.
- A Simple Guide to Spanish Sentence Structure and Order
- How to Determine the Subject and Predicate in Spanish
Spanish Possessive Pronouns – Multiple-choice Quiz
If you’ve made it this far, you’re ready to test your knowledge! In this multiple choice quiz, choose the correct option for each of the blanks.
1. Señor, ¿cuál de estas maletas es ______?
2. Juanito, estas son mis hojas, ________ están allá.
3. Ni ________ ni ________ son respuestas correctas.
4. No traje mi cel, puedes prestarme ________, por favor.
5. ________ es nadar.
Possessive Pronouns in Spanish: Lesson Summary
- El mío, el tuyo, el suyo, and el nuestro are the Spanish possessive pronouns.
- They have masculine, feminine, plural, and singular forms.
- When suyo means “his,” “hers,” or “theirs,” you can substitute with de él, de ella and de ellos/as.
- You may use possessive pronouns with the neutral definite article lo.
- Spanish possessive pronouns may be a subject or an object in a sentence.
Practice Possessive Pronouns in a Conversation
Practice leads to mastery, and you’ll need to devote time and effort as you learn to use possessive pronouns in Spanish fluently.
Don’t get discouraged and look for practice opportunities as often as possible. Set clear language goals and try to stick to them. Just think of all the benefits being bilingual brings. Did you know that merely by studying another language, you’re improving your cognition and decision-making abilities?
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