Possessive Pronouns

Showing Ownership

boy with ballPossessive pronouns are pronouns that indicate ownership.

Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses

Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All Tenses

A pronoun is a word that is used in place of a noun.

For example:

Let's consider this sentence:

Tom has the red ball.

We could replace Tom with He, which is a pronoun.

He has the red ball.

Here's another example:

Joe and Karen like cats.

We could replace Joe and Karen with they, which is a pronoun.

They like cats.

Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns show ownership. They tell the reader that something belongs to somebody or something.

These are the possessive pronouns and the subjects they represent:

Subject Possessive Pronoun
I Mine
You (singular) Yours
He His
She Hers
It Its
We Ours
You (plural) Yours
They Theirs

1. Mine

The possessive pronoun mine shows ownership of the subject I.

  • The blond boy is mine.

     (I am the blond boy's mother.)

  • The dog you found is mine.

    (I own that dog.)

  • The blue toothbrush is mine.

    (I own the blue toothbrush.)
boy with toothbrush

2. Yours (singular and plural)

The possessive pronoun yours shows ownership of the subject you.

The subject you can represent a singular or plural subject.

Singular Examples:
  • The pink toothbrush is yours.

    (You own the pink toothbrush.)

  • Nick, I think that dog is yours.

    (Nick, you own the dog.)

  • The blue present is yours.

    (You get the blue present.)

Plural Examples:
  • Tom and Sandy, is this house yours?

    (Do you both own the house?)

  • These presents are yours.

    (The presents belong to all of you.)

  • These band uniforms are yours this year.

    (The uniforms belong to the band members.)

3. His

The possessive pronoun his shows ownership of the subject he.

  • The old car is his.

    (He owns the old car.)

  • The book is his.

    (He owns the book.)

  • I think that bike is his.

    (He owns the bike.)
man on bicycle

4. Hers

The possessive pronoun hers shows ownership of the subject she.

  • The children are hers.

    (She is the mother of the children.)

  • The blue house is hers.

    (She owns the blue house.)

  • The coat I found is hers.

    (She owns the coat.)

5. Its

The possessive pronoun its shows ownership of the subject it.

  • The blue doghouse is its.

    (The blue doghouse belongs to it.)

  • Its is the green one.

    (The green one belongs to it.)

  • Those game pieces are its.

    (The pieces belong with the game.)
These examples may sound strange, but they are grammatically correct.

In American English, it is more common to use the possessive adjective form of its, which is explained at the end of this lesson.

A possessive adjective always comes before a  noun.

For Example:

We could say,

"Its doghouse is blue."


"Those are its game pieces."


Special note about its vs. it's:

Its and it's are not the same word.

Its = ownership

It's = a contraction meaning it is.
  • Incorrect:

    The bird is in it's nest.

    (The bird is in it is nest).
  • Correct:

    The bird is in its nest.
  • Incorrect:

    I think its nine o'clock.
  • Correct:

    I think it's nine o'clock.

    (I think it is nine o'clock.)

6. Ours

The possessive pronoun ours shows ownership of the subject we.

  • The swimming pool is ours.

    (We own the swimming pool.)

  • Those horses in the barn are ours.

    (We own the horses in the barn.)

  • Ours is the green car.

    (We own the green car.)
green car

7. Theirs

The possessive pronoun theirs shows ownership of the subject they.

  • The three bikes are theirs.

    (They own the bikes.)

  • The sleeping bags are theirs.

    (They own the sleeping bags.)

  • Those children are theirs.

    (They are the parents of the children.)


Possessive Adjectives

Don't confuse possessive pronouns with possessive adjectives.

Possessive adjectives show ownership, but they always come before a noun. They modify the noun.

The possessive adjectives are:
  • my
  • your (singular and plural)
  • his
  • her
  • its
  • our
  • their

possessive adjective + noun
  • My house is green.

    (The green house belongs to me. or I own the green house.)

  • Is that your dog?

    (The dog belongs to you.)

  • That is his bicycle.

    (He owns the bicycle.)

  • Her mom is tall.

    (The girl's mom is tall.)

  • The horse broke its leg.

    (The horse has a broken leg.)

  • Do you want to come over to our house?

    (The house belongs to us.)

  • Their car broke down.

    (The car that broke down belongs to them.)

  • I wonder whose bike is parked there?

    (The bike belongs to someone.)
parked bicycle

These were the uses of possessive pronouns. Now that you know them, it is time to practice: Illustrated Worksheet on Possessives Forms.


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