Possessive Adjectives‏‎ in English Grammar

Sentence Structure

We use possessive adjectives with nouns to show possession‏‎ or ownership. Like most adjectives‏‎ they come before the noun which they describe:

{possessive adjective} + {noun}

your + car

his + mother

its + food

There are seven possessive adjectives in English:

  1. my (something belongs to me – I own it)
  2. your (something belongs to you (singular) – you own it)
  3. his (something belongs to him – he owns it)
  4. her (something belongs to her – she owns it)
  5. its (something belongs to it – it owns it)
  6. our (something belongs to us – we own it)
  7. your (something belongs to you (plural) – you own it)
  8. their (something belongs to them – they own it)

Unlike possessive pronouns‏‎ which replace a noun, possessive adjectives go before the noun they modify.

Its and It’s

Be careful here. Many people, including native speakers of English, confuse these two and use the wrong one.

Its is a possessive adjective used to show that something belongs to a thing or an animal, and generally to indicate non gender specific ownership.

The bird opened its wings and flew away.

A new car loses a quarter of its value the moment it leaves the dealer’s.

On the other hand, it’s is a contraction for it is or it has.

It’s your choice!

It’s just occurred to me we could go by train.

Possessive Adjectives + Gerunds

Possessive adjectives can also be used with gerunds to clarify who is doing what.

Your rallying around that poor sick child inspired us all.

My snoring at night always wakes him up.

We had a lovely nanny. I particularly enjoyed her bedtime reading.

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