Unit 6.1

Atonic possesive pronouns

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Introduction

Possessives [posesivos] indicate possession or belonging. They always agree in gender and number with the noun they refer to: with the thing possessed.

If the possessive appears next to the noun that designates the element with which a relationship of belonging is established, it is called a possessive determiner [determinante posesivo]. If the possessive replaces the noun, it is a possessive pronoun [pronombre posesivo].

There are two types of possessive [posesivos]: atonic and tonic [átonos y tónicos].

Form

Atonic possessive pronouns have the following characteristics:

  • they always precede the nouns that they modify;
  • they cannot stand alone;
  • they are not compatible with adjectives (which stand-alone), with articles, or with the verb haber;
  • they vary in number and sometimes in gender (in the 1st and 2nd person plural);
  • the atonic forms of the 3rd person singular and plural coincide: su = de él / de ella / de usted; sus = de ellos / de ellas / de ustedes.

The following table illustrates the forms of the atonic possessive pronouns:

Poseedor Singular Plural
Yo mi mis
tu tus
Él/Ella/Usted su sus
Nosotros/as nuestro/a nuestros/as
Vosotros/as vuestro/a vuestros/as
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes su sus

NOTE: With parts of the body, clothing, and other objects, definite articles(el/la, los/las) are used instead of the tonic possessive articles.

Example

  • Mi casa es tu casa;
  • En tu pueblo se siguen tradiciones muy curiosas;
  • Él construyó su cabaña al pie de la montaña;
  • Nuestro país es muy caluroso;
  • ¿Vuestra actividad favorita no es jugar al baloncesto?
  • ¡Sus compañeras les están ayudando a ganar!
  • Me duele la mano. (Duele mi mano.)

Use

Possessive pronouns are used to express the relationship of possession or some other kind of link (origin, family, relationship, etc.) between the possessor (someone who owns something) and a person, animal, or thing.

Summary

Possessives are words that are used to refer to possession. In Spanish, they can be atonic (they go before the noun) or tonic (they always go after the noun). Both have gender and number.

For example:

— «Esta es mi camisa»= in front of the noun;
— «Esta camisa es mía»= behind the noun.

Check the contents of the {Form} section. Then move on to the {Example} section, which shows you the usage in context.

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