Grammar, Parts of Speech

Possessive Pronouns vs Possessive Adjectives: simplified explanation

Possessive adjectives (possessive determiners) and possessive pronouns are tricky and could get you confused. Here, we provide the explanation that would help you understand them in few words.

Possessive adjectives: my, your, our, their, his, her and its.

Possessive pronouns: mineyours, ours, theirs, his, hers and its.

Examples:

pronouns

  1. The ball is yours.
  2. The gift is mine.

adjectives

  1. My gift is on the table.
  2. It is your ball.

A possessive adjective goes before a noun to show possession but a possessive pronoun goes after the noun and can replace it, unlike its adjective counterpart.

However, the complication lies in the use of its and his in both parts. Study these examples:
Examples:

pronoun

  1. This room is usually cold, it has a peculiar temperature of its own.
  2. The choice was his.
  3. John spoke with a friend of his.

adjective

  1. Its tail has been removed.
  2. His mother gave him a slap across the face.
  3. He broke his leg in the fight.

Note:
In standard English, we avoid using its as a pronoun except when used with own (as seen above).

*one’s is also used in this sense.
Example:

  1. One shouldn’t mind being on one’s own.

 

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