Using Pronouns in English: Possessive Pronouns

In case you haven’t already read our previous posts on pronouns, here is a little recap: pronouns can be used instead of nouns. In the past, we looked at pronouns that are the focus (also known as the subject) of the sentence and pronouns that are the object of a sentence. Now it is time for possessive pronouns. These pronouns are used when an item belongs to someone and are used a lot in conversations.

Here is a list of the pronouns that will be discussed in this article.

  • mine
  • yours
  • his
  • hers
  • its
  • theirs
  • ours

USING PRONOUNS IN ENGLISH: OBJECT PRONOUNS

THE ‘MINE’ PRONOUN

The ‘mine’ pronoun is used when someone is talking about something that belongs to them.

Example 1

  • ‘The tablet belongs to me.’
Using Pronouns in English: Possessive Pronouns - Simply Better English
Using Pronouns in English: Possessive Pronouns – Simply Better English

If an item belongs to the speaker or writer, they can share this piece of information using the ‘mine’ pronoun too.

  • ‘The tablet is mine.’

Example 2

  • ‘That bag belongs to me.’

Again, in this instance, the ‘mine’ pronoun can also be used.

  • ‘That bag is mine.’

Example 3

Possessive pronouns are often used in conversations.

  • ‘Who does this tie belong to?’
  • ‘The tie is mine.’

Since both people in the conversation know that they are talking about a tie, the speaker can also reply with a similar sentence: ‘It is mine.’

As you can see from this example, possessive pronouns can be used when answering a question.

 

Quiz Sign - Simply Better English
Quiz Sign – Simply Better English
Activity 1

Write an answer to each of the questions below using a possessive pronoun.

  • Does the piano belong to you?
  • Does the cup belong to you?
  • It that your pet?

THE ‘YOURS’ PRONOUN

The ‘yours’ pronoun is normally used when discussing something that belongs to the person you are directly communicating with.

Example 4

  • ‘Does the sports car belong to you?’
Using Pronouns in English: Possessive Pronouns - Simply Better English
Using Pronouns in English: Possessive Pronouns – Simply Better English

In this instance, the ‘yours’ pronoun can be used too.

  • ‘Is the sports car yours?’

As you can see, the phrase ‘belongs to you’ can simply be exchanged for the ‘yours’ pronoun.

Example 5

  • ‘Does the baseball cap belong to you?’ ‘Yes, the baseball cap belongs to me.’

In real life, this short conversation would normally contain possessive pronouns. Also, the speaker or writer could answer using the ‘mine’ pronoun.

  • ‘Is this baseball cap yours?’ ‘Yes, it is mine.’

THE ‘HIS’ PRONOUN

The ‘his’ pronoun is used when you are discussing something that belongs to a male.

Example 6

  • ‘The bright torch belongs to Kevin.’

We could rephrase the sentence using the ‘his’ pronoun.

  • ‘The bright torch is his.’

Example 7

  • ‘Does the pencil belong to Andrew?’ ‘Yes, the pencil belongs to Andrew.’

In a conversation like this, a possessive pronoun is more likely be used instead.

  • ‘Does the pencil belong to Andrew?’ ‘Yes, the pencil is his.’

THE ‘HERS’ PRONOUN

The ‘hers’ pronoun is used when discussing something that belongs to a female.

Example 8

  • ‘The cup of coffee belongs to Mrs Schmidt.’

Again, the sentence can be shortened by using a pronoun.

  • ‘The cup of coffee is hers.’

Example 9

  • ‘Does the parcel belong to Elizabeth?’ ‘Yes, the parcel belongs to her.’
Using Pronouns in English: Possessive Pronouns - Simply Better English
Using Pronouns in English: Possessive Pronouns – Simply Better English

In a conversation like this, a possessive pronoun would more likely be used instead.

  • ‘Does the parcel belong to Elizabeth?’ ‘Yes, the parcel is hers.’

As you can see, using possessive pronouns makes sentences are shorter. This is why they are used a lot in conversations.

Quiz Sign - Simply Better English
Quiz Sign – Simply Better English
Activity 2

Rewrite the sentences below and replace the noun in bold with the correct pronoun.

  • The CD belongs to Garry.
  • I think the snack belongs to Kathy.
  • The bottle belongs to Wayne.
  • The blanket belongs to Hannah.

THE ‘ITS’ PRONOUN

In the English language the ‘its’ pronoun is not used in the same manner as the past examples. When an object belongs to an item or an animal, the word ‘its’ is used as a possessive adjective.

THE ‘THEIRS’ PRONOUN

The ‘theirs’ pronoun is used when something belongs to more than one person.

Example 10

  • ‘The house belongs to the people in the red car.’

This sentence can be edited and a pronoun used instead.

  • ‘The house is theirs.’

Example 11

  • ‘The jewellery belongs to Tia and Sean.’

Again, in this instance, a pronoun could be used for this sentence.

  • ‘The jewellery is theirs.’

THE ‘OURS’ PRONOUN

The ‘ours’ pronoun is also used when an item belongs to a group but when the speaker or writer is part of the group.

Example 12

  • ‘The laptop belongs to Anna, and Timothy and I.’

This sentence can be shortened using a pronoun.

  • ‘The laptop is ours.’
Quiz Sign - Simply Better English
Quiz Sign – Simply Better English
Activity 3

Shorten the sentences by including possessive pronouns.

  • The television belongs to Danny and I.
  • The shirt belongs to David.
  • The bag belongs to Patricia.
  • The big table at the restaurant belongs to Natasha, Claire and Grace.
  • The phone belongs to Mrs Smart.
  • Yes, this pencil case belongs to Bradley.

RECAP

This article has discussed using possessive pronouns in English. Remember possessive pronouns are used to tell the reader or listener that an item belongs to someone. They are used a lot in conversations in English.

 

ANSWERS 

Activity 1

Write an answer to each of the questions below using a possessive pronoun.

  • Q: Does the piano belong to you?
  • A: Yes, the piano is mine. /Yes, it is mine.
  • Q: Who does the cup belong to you?
  • A: The cup is mine. /It is mine.
  • Q: It that your pet?
  • A: Yes, the pet is mine. /Yes, it is mine.

Activity 2

  • The CD is his. /It is his.
  • I think the snack is hers. /I think it is hers.
  • The bottle is his. /It is his.
  • The blanket is hers. /It is hers.

Activity 3

  • The television is ours. /It is ours.
  • The shirt is his. /It is his.
  • The bag is hers. /It is hers.
  • The big table at the restaurant is theirs. /It is theirs.
  • The phone is hers. /It is hers.
  • Yes, this pencil case is his. /It is his.

 

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