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Pronouns: possessive (my, mine, your, yours, etc.)

We use pronouns to refer to possession and ‘belonging’. There are two types: possessive pronouns and possessive determiners. We use possessive determiners before a noun. We use possessive pronouns in place of a noun:

Is that [determiner]your scarf? It’s very similar to [pronoun]mine. (It’s very similar to my scarf.)

That’s not [determiner]their house. [pronoun]Theirs has got a red front door.

It was [determiner]his fault not [pronoun]hers.

personal pronoun

possessive determiner

possessive pronoun

I

my

mine

you (singular and plural)

your

yours

he

his

his

she

her

hers

it

its

its*

we

our

ours

they

their

theirs

one

one’s

one’s*

*We avoid using its and one’s as possessive pronouns except when we use them with own:

The house seemed asleep yet, as I have said, it had a life of its own.

One doesn’t like to spend too much time on one’s own.

Typical errors

  • We don’t use ’s after possessive pronouns:

Are those gloves hers?

Not: Are those gloves her’s?

  • ’s is not used with the possessive pronoun its. It’s means ‘it is’:

The team is proud of its ability to perform consistently well.

Not: … proud of it’s ability

  • We don’t use another determiner with a possessive determiner:

I’m going to get my hair cut this afternoon.

Not: … get the my hair cut

  • We don’t use possessive determiners on their own. They are always at the beginning of noun phrases:

That’s not my book. It’s yours. (or It’s your book.)

Not: It’s your.

  • We don’t use possessive pronouns before nouns:

Lots of our friends were at the party.

Not: Lots of ours friends

(“Pronouns: possessive ( my, mine, your, yours, etc.)” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press. Need grammar practice? Try English Grammar Today with Workbook.)

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