Andrea
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Possessive adjectives in Spanish

Possessive adjectives in Spanish

Apr 07, 2023

Last class we learned these sentences:

¿Cuál es tu nombre? (What is your name?)

Mi nombre es... (My name is...)

In this class we will focus on the words: mi and tu, and the rest of possessive adjectives.

What is a possessive adjective?

Possessive adjectives are a group of determinants used to explain possession or ownership, just as words like my and your in English.

Here’s the full list:

mi (my)

tu (informal your)

su (formal your, his, her, its)

nuestro (our)

nuestra (our)

su (plural your, their)

Examples:

  • Yo tengo una hermana. Su nombre es Vanessa.

    (I have a sister. Her name is Vanessa.)

  • Él tiene un perro. Su nombre es Goofy.

    (He has a dog. His name is Goofy.)

  • Nosotros tenemos dos hijos. Nuestro hijo mayor está en la universidad.

    (We have two children. Our oldest son is in college.)

  • Ellos tienen un carro. Su carro es azul.

    (They have a car. Their car is blue.)

  • Tu mejor amigo se llama Julián.

    (Your best friend's name is Julian.)

  • Mi madre habla español.

    (My mom speaks Spanish.)

As you see in the examples, the only exclusive possessives are mi, tu and nuestro. The rest of the people have the same possessive: su. That is why when you say the famous phrase mi casa es su casa, which means my house is your house, you are using the formal your, which is the original intention of this phrase, but it could also mean:

  • My house is his house

  • My house is her house

  • My house is your house (plural your, like for you guys) 

  • My house is their house

The plural

In Spanish it is a big deal to say a word is an adjective, because this means that it comes with variations. Variations can be those about gender -feminine or masculine- or number -plural and singular. Therefore, possessive adjectives have both: a singular and a plural form.

mi / mis (my)

tu / tus (informal your)

su / sus (formal your, his, her, its)

nuestro /nuestros (our)

nuestra / nuestras (our)

su / sus (plural your, their)

The variation between plural and singular depends entirely on the noun that comes right afterwards, and it does not depend on the subject of the sentence.

Thus, when I say the phrase my friends, friends is a plural noun; therefore, the possessive is also plural mis amigos.

More examples:

  • Shakira tiene dos hijos. Sus hijos son muy guapos.

    (Shakira has two children. Her children are very handsome.)

  • Tus amigas son muy simpáticas.

    (Your friends are very nice.)

  • Mis padres viven en Colorado.

    (My parents live in Colorado.)

  • Fernando tiene muchas ideas. Sus ideas no son tan buenas.

    (Fernando has many ideas. His ideas are not so good.)

  • Usted tiene muchas flores. Sus flores son muy coloridas.

    (You have many flowers. Your flowers are very colorful.)

  • Ellos tienen muchos primos. Sus primos viven en Florida.

    (They have many cousins. Their cousins live in Florida.)

Our and its variations

Nuestro, is the only one on the list that has correspondences related to the gender of the nouns that it describes. Therefore, if the noun is feminine singular, the possessive will be nuestra and if it is feminine plural, nuestras. Take a look at the examples:

  • Nuestras amigas son inteligentes 

    (Our girlfriends are smart.)

  • Nuestra madre está en la oficina.

    (Our mother is in the office.)

Remembering that the possessive must agree with the noun right after, and not with the subject of the sentence, may be a little tricky at first, but with practice you will soon get used to it. 

If you want to practice, go to this quiz.

You can also print the following infographic and trim the little square to put this list of adjectives in a visible place so you’ll always remember them. 

If you have questions, leave them down here in the comments and I'll be happy to answer them.

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