CIP Online English Learning - Possessive Adjectives

What are Possessive Adjectives?

Teacher Christine

Possessive adjectives are also known as possessive determiners, refer to the words that describe a noun by showing possession or a sense of belonging to a particular person or thing. A possessive adjective sits before a noun (or a pronoun) to show who or what owns it. Here is the list of possessive adjectives:

  •         My
  •         Your
  •         His
  •         Her
  •         Its
  •         Our
  •         Their
  •         Whose


This is your luggage.

(The possessive adjective “your” sits before the noun “luggage” to tell us who owns it.)

Most of the people who are learning English are having some confusion between possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns. Remember that possessive pronouns are the pronouns that help us show possession or ownership in a sentence. Here are the examples: mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, yours, and theirs.

Your dress is beautiful. (your is an adjective which modifies bike)

Mine is ugly. (mine is a pronoun which functions as the subject of the verb is)


For us not to be confused about possessive adjectives and pronouns here is a guide chart:


Personal pronouns Possessive adjectives Possessive pronouns Reflexive pronouns Object pronouns
I my mine myself me
you your yours yourself You
he his his himself him
she her hers herself her
it its its itself it
we our ours ourselves us
you your yours yourselves you
they their theirs themselves them


When it comes to grammar mistakes, it is very rare to commit errors when it comes to possessive adjectives but of course, there is an exception for all. Spelling and having misconceptions about them are common mistakes. Here are some:

Common Mistake #1: it’s vs. Its

The contraction it’s doesn’t show possession. It is a contraction of “it is” or “it has”. For others, they might question it because of possessive ‘s, and for that kind of possessive, we use apostrophes. But it doesn’t have anything to do with possession.

Example: It’s a good dress. (In this example, it can be expanded into “It is a good dress.)

Common Mistake #2: you’re vs. Your

“You’re” is short for “you are”. When you are going to use it in a sentence, and you cannot expand it into its original form, then check your sentence and see if it does make sense.

Example: Share you’re smiling in the world. (you’re wrong, it should be yours.)

Common Mistake #3: there vs. They’re vs. Their

“They’re” is short for “they are.”  If you can’t expand your “they’re” to “there are,” then it’s wrong. “There is used when you are talking about a place. It’s also used in expressions like “There are” or “There is.”


Common Mistake #4: who’s vs. Whose

“Who’s” is short for “who is” or “who has.”


Notes: We don’t have a singular non-gender-specific one that can be used with people. We have “its,” but you can’t use “its” with people. We can use “their” to replace “his or her”.