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Possessive Adjectives

A possessive adjective is a type of adjective that changes a noun by indicating who owns, possesses or controls it.

In the line, Peter lost his cards. For example, the term his is a possessive adjective indicating that the cards pertain to Peter.

My, your, his, her, it, our, their, and whose are the most regularly used possessive adjectives. These often relate to the pronoun like I, you, he, she, it, we, they, and who in that order.

Possessive Adjectives

As the name implies, possessive adjectives are often used to denote possession or ownership. For instance, the adjective his is used in the line George puts his scarf on the chair to emphasize that George owns the scarf.

Possessive adjectives can also be used to allude to figurative objects that someone possesses, as Alison explained her idea to me.

Possessive adjectives can also be used to describe persons who have a connection to someone or something.

For instance, the possessive word their is used in the line "Vidhi and Heena are with their grandparents" to convey that the grandparents are related to Vidhi and Heena; they do not "own" their grandparents, but they do have them.

When choosing a possessive adjective, consider whichever pronoun you might use to denote the very same person or object that possesses or has the noun you are altering.

As an example,

The mother pigeon was constructing ________nest.

The nest should be modified with a possessive adjective in this statement. The mother pigeon owns the nest. We would be using the pronoun she since the pigeon is female. Her is the possessive adjective that is utilised with she. As a result, our sentence must be as follows:

The mother pigeon was constructing her nest.

Possessive Adjective Definition

Possessive Adjective has been defined by renowned dictionaries, let us have a look at the definition by them ;

  • As per the Collins Dictionary, a possessive adjective is "an adjective like 'my' or 'your' which demonstrates who or what something pertains to or is associated with. "
  • As defined by Merriam-Webster "A possessive adjective is defined as "a pronominal adjective indicating possession. "

Simple Possessive Adjective Examples

The possessive adjectives are highlighted in the instances below.

  • Helen wants your helmet.

(The possessive adjective "your" before the noun "helmet" to indicate who possesses it.)

  • I believe her cat ate my mouse.

(The possessive adjectives "her" and "my" are used before (or altering) the nouns "cat" and "mouse" to indicate who possesses them.)

In What Parts of A Statement Should Possessive Adjectives Be Used?

Possessive adjectives, unlike most other adjectives, can only be used right in front of the noun they change:

Correct: They went to my residence.

Incorrect: This residence is my.

Correct: The Tigers hunted their prey.

Incorrect: I would like to give the tigers this object since I know it is theirs.

Possessive Adjectives in Sentences: How To Use Them

Possessive adjectives are an odd part of speech. They act a little similar to pronouns and partly like adjectives, but at the same time they vary from each part of speech and have their own significance and function.

Substituting Possessive Nouns

Possessive adjectives (also referred to as possessive determiners) have a special purpose in sentences. They not only alter nouns, but they also substitute possessive nouns that appear before those nouns, preventing your writing from seeming repetitious.

(Note: Only third-person pronouns - his, her, it, their, and our - are used to replace nouns, as my and your always relate to me and you.)

  1. Have you seen Ellison's schoolwork ?
  2. Have you seen his schoolwork ?
  3. Please check the bird's legs for wounds.
  4. Please check its legs for any wounds.
  5. That's not this batch's farewell cake.
  6. That's not our farewell cake.

Possessive Adjective Agreement

Possessive adjectives follow the principles of pronoun agreement. They must coincide with the antecedent, which means that singular possessive nouns (Minni's, Karina's, and the dog's) must correspond to possessive adjectives (his, her, and its).

The antecedent is usually obvious from a preceding sentence or other context indicators.

  1. Mike enjoys attending concerts. His preferred concert was the Backstreet Boys in the year 2000.
  2. Karinahad always wanted to visit France. It's her greatest ambition.
  3. The kitten screeched when I mistakenly stepped on the tip of its tail.
  4. You and your companions should pay for your own vacation.
  5. Johnny and Erica asked if we could get their letter.

Possessive adjectives, on the other hand, do not have to agree with the nouns they have. The plural possessive adjective their agrees with the compound subject Johnny and Erica, not the singular noun letter, in the last instance above.

Most Common possessive adjectives

As stated above, the most often used possessive adjectives are:

My Your Her His
Its Our Their Whose

A possessive adjective accompanies each personal pronoun. As a result, you may encounter additional potential possessive adjectives like hir and xyr that an individual may employ instead of the gendered pronouns like he or she. Other possessive adjectives may appear in addition to these.

Possessive Adjectives

Possessive adjectives that are gender-neutral or nonbinary

The words her and his are different in the given table of possessive adjectives. They are different in that they are often employed to define an individual's (or animal's) gender. However, these are very frequent adjectives, there are plenty of other possessive adjectives present that are not related with a specific gender.

It is vital not to identify someone incorrectly, even if it is unintentional, by employing gendered terms when it is not necessary. Luckily, there is a straightforward method for ensuring that all gender identities are represented in your speech and writing: use gender-neutral terminology.

If you're unsure which possessive adjective to use, or if you'd rather not use a gendered pronoun, the term their is really what you require.

Their can be used as a single gender-neutral or non - binary substitute for the gender-specific adjectives her and his. (Other terms are often used in this way as well, but theirs is the most popular.)

You can use this phrase when you don't require or want to define someone's gender. It can also be utilised to describe someone who identifies as nonbinary. In this case, it's critical to use the individual's favored adjectives (and pronouns).

Possessive pronouns and possessive adjectives

Possessive adjectives cannot be used as the subject, object, or subject complement. Possessive pronouns, on the contrary, are necessary. Since they are pronouns, these terms can be used in locations where possessive adjectives cannot.

The possessive pronouns for each pronoun and possessive adjective are as follows:

I :my :mine
You: your: yours
She: her: hers
He: his: his
It: its: its
We: our: ours
They: their: theirs
Who: whose: whose

Note: Generally, it is not preferable to employ itself as the pronoun.

Possessive Adjectives

You'll see that the terms his and whose are both possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns for the terms he and who, making these two relatively easy to employ than the other terms.

Determiners and possessive adjectives

Unlike nouns and verbs, adjective categories are frequently less defined. Many style guides and grammar resources, for example, regard possessive adjectives to be a category of words typically characterized as determiners, in which case they may be called to as possessive determiners or simply possessives.

Possessive adjectives, unlike most other adjectives, can work similarly to pronouns in that they can substitute possessive nouns. The sentences

"I spotted Tommy's cat, and I spotted his cat", for instance, have the same connotation.

Furthermore, possessive adjectives cannot be transformed into superlative or comparative adjectives. Something could be slower than another, but it cannot be "our-er" or "my-er" than another.

While these characteristics may justify defining possessive adjectives as a distinct figure of speech, terms like my, your, and our are considered possessive adjectives instead of determiners. However, not each style guide will use this concept, so don't be shocked if words like these are classed differently.

Rules for possessive adjectives and best practices

1. When it pertains to possessive adjectives, the most important thing to remember is not to employ them as nouns by accident.

Possessive adjectives should not be used as the subject, object, or subject complement. Rather, use a possessive pronoun.

❌ Incorrect: This suitcase is my.

✅ Correct: This suitcase is mine.

❌ Incorrect: His kitten is wiser than your.

✅ Correct: His kitten is wiser than yours, OR His kitten is wiser than your kitten.

2. Another thing to keep in mind is that the possessive word their might pertain to a single person.

While their and they are commonly used to refer to many individuals or objects, they may also be used to relate to a single person.

  • The businessman sat on their seat.
  • Each person is liable for their belongings.

3. Since it is not a gendered word, their is a useful term to use if it is not known how an individual identifies themselves.

I am meeting someone called James who has agreed to give me their annual pass.

4. The most common mistakes individuals make with possessive adjectives have nothing to do with grammatical faults but everything to do with spelling.

The five mistakes listed below are quite common:

A. Its and It's: The term it's is an abbreviation for "it is."

  1. The doll swirled till its battery died.
  2. It's a beautiful day outside today.

Never use the word "it's" whenever you mean "its" (or vice versa)

The abbreviation "it's" has no bearing on ownership; it is not a possessive adjective. "It's" is an abbreviation meaning "it is" or "it has." This is a hard and fast rule. It's incorrect if you can not expand the term "it's" to "it is" or "it has."

B. Your and You're:

Another usual mistake is using the words "you're" and "your" interchangeably. Like "its" and "it's," one is a possessive adjective whereas the other is a condensed version of two words.

While they may appear and sound identical, there is an important distinction between them. Your is a possessive pronoun, which means it means something that belongs to or is associated with the speaker. The term you're is an short form for "you are."

  1. Saturday is your anniversary.
  2. You're my closest companion.

Don't use the word "you're" when you intend "your" (or vice versa).

"You're" is a short form for "you are." This is a hard and fast rule. It's incorrect if you cannot enlarge your "you're" to "you are."

C. Whose and Who's:

"Whose" and "who's" are two frequently misunderstood words that are utilized in various contexts.

"Whose" is a possessive determiner that indicates ownership or family ancestry, whereas "who's" is a short form for "who is" that is frequently utilized when asking inquiries regarding someone or something. Who's is an abbreviation for "who is" or "who has."

  1. Whose theory was this?
  2. Who's heading to visit the shop with me?

Don't use the word "who's" when you intend "whose" (or vice versa).

"Who's" is an abbreviation for "who is" or "who has." This is a hard and fast rule. It's incorrect if you cannot change to full form i.e. "who's" to "who is" or "who has."

D. Their, They're, and There:

There are several methods to refer to somebody or something, the most popular of which are "there," "they're," and "their." These terms may appear to be extremely similar at first glance, but they have very different meanings.

"There" is most commonly used to refer to a physical or abstract location. For instance, you could say "I'm traveling over there," or even say "There's nothing extra I can do."

There is a popular word with numerous meanings; however, it is not used as a possessive adjective.

In contrast, They're an abbreviation for "they are." As a result, it is frequently employed to denote the present or future tense. For instance, you may say, "They're thinking to make it to the conference" or "They're going to do their maximum."

Meanwhile, "their" is just a possessive form that can be applied to individuals as well as objects. So you may say something like, "Here is their assessment card," or simply ask, "Whose file is this?" Is this theirs?"

To summarize, while there may be certain similarities in their use and meaning, they each serve separate functions that make them helpful in different settings.

  1. My children are completing their schoolwork.
  2. The painters were unable to arrive today, so they're arriving tomorrow.
  3. I went to winny's place, but she wasn't there.

This is a hard and fast rule. It's incorrect if you cannot change to full form i.e "they're" to "they are."

"There" (like the term "here") is a location. It's also used in phrases like "there are monsters" and "there's a problem."

E. Don't use the pronouns "his/her."

English has a problem with possessive adjectives. There isn't a single non-gender-specific one that can be utilized with people. We have "its," but "its" cannot be used with individuals.

  • Each individual is responsible for its cat.

("Its" cannot be used to refer to persons.)

Examples of possessive adjectives in a sentence

Possessive Adjectives

In each of the following statements, the possessive adjective is highlighted in bold.

  1. We searched everywhere for my toy. (The possessive adjective my indicates that the noun toy belongs to me.)
  2. Their group was far superior than our team. (The possessive words their and our change the word group to express who each group represents.)
  3. Whose glass is this? (This is the possessive adjective that changes the noun glass.) Whose is also an interrogative adjective; therefore, it is frequently employed in questioning to determine who owns an item.)

Examples Of Possessive Adjectives

Possessive adjectives have been highlighted for ease of recognition. Read on to know some more instances:

  1. What is your mailing address?
  2. My SUV is parked directly in front of the institution.
  3. This is Jasper, and this is his fiancee, Seema.
  4. Place your jackets on the backs of your chairs.
  5. Our new college professor is wonderful.
  6. What a gorgeous bird! Its feathers are a purplish-blue!
  7. My sister is usually exhausted. Her job is challenging.
  8. My computer isn't responding as quickly as it used to.
  9. Our dad instructed us not to argue with anyone.
  10. Your bicycle was taken the day before yesterday.
  11. Your youngster is struggling at school.
  12. His behavior is causing us anxiety.
  13. Class seven pupils completed their task.
  14. I wasn't sure of her motives.
  15. Her ideas are far too complicated.
  16. My brain stops working when I recall that.
  17. Please stop fiddling with my hair.
  18. I can't believe you shattered my glasses.
  19. Is this their table ?
  20. Our girls are intelligent than the boys.

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