Languages › French French Possessive Adjectives: How to Form Them French Possessives Come In Many More Forms Than Their English Counterparts Share Flipboard Email Print PJPhoto69 / Getty Images French Grammar Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Resources For Teachers by ThoughtCo Updated February 06, 2019 Possessive adjectives are the words used in place of articles to indicate to whom or to what something belongs. French possessive adjectives are used in similar ways to English possessive adjectives, but there are some differences in form. Using French Possessive Adjectives French grammar touts many more possessives than English because there are different forms not only for the person and number but sometimes also the gender and the first letter of that which is possessed. All of the different forms are summarized in the table below and are explained in detail later in this lesson. 1. When describing two or more nouns in French, a possessive adjective must be used in front of each one: son frère et sa sœur his brother and sister ma tante et mon oncle my aunt and uncle 2. The possessive adjective is almost never used with body parts in French. You can't say "my hand" or "my hair." Instead, the French use pronominal verbs to show possession with body parts: Je me suis cassé la jambe. I broke my leg (literally, I broke the leg of myself). Il se lave les cheveux. He's washing his hair (literally, He's washing the hair of himself). Singular Plural English Masculine Feminine Before Vowel my mon ma mon mes your (tu form) ton ta ton tes his, her, its son sa son ses our notre notre notre nos your (vous form) votre votre votre vos their leur leur leur leurs Singular Possessive French Adjectives In French grammar, there are three forms of the possessive for each singular person (I, you, he/she/it). The gender, number, and first letter of the noun possessed determine which form to use. MY mon (masculine singular) mon stylo > my pen ma (feminine singular) ma montre > my watch mes (plural) mes livres > my books When a feminine noun begins with a vowel, the masculine possessive adjective is used, to avoid saying ma amie, which would break the flow of speech. In this case, the possessive's final consonant is pronounced (the "n" in the example below) to achieve fluid pronunciation. mon amie - my (female) friend YOUR (tu form) ton (masculine singular) ton stylo > your pen ta (feminine singular) ta montre > your watch tes (plural) tes livres > your books When a feminine noun begins with a vowel, the masculine possessive adjective is used: ton amie - your (female) friend HIS / HER / ITS son (masculine singular) son stylo > his, her, its pen sa (feminine singular) sa montre > his, her, its watch ses (plural) ses livres > his, her, its books When a feminine noun begins with a vowel, the masculine possessive adjective is used: son amie - his, her, its (female) friend Note: An important difference between French and English is that French utilizes the gender of the noun to determine which form to use, not the gender of the subject. A man would say mon livre when talking about a book, and a woman would also say mon livre. The book is masculine, and therefore so is the possessive adjective, no matter who the book belongs to. Likewise, both men and women would say ma maison, because "house" is feminine in French. It doesn't matter whether the owner of the house is male or female. This difference between English and French possessive adjectives can be particularly confusing when using him/her/it. Son, sa, and ses can each mean his, her, or its depending on the context. For example, son lit can mean his bed, her bed, or its bed (for example, the dog's). If you need to stress the gender of the person the item belongs to, you can use à lui ("belonging to him") or à elle ("belonging to her"): C'est son livre, à elle. It's her book. Voici sa monnaie, à lui. Here's his change. Plural Possessive French Adjectives For plural subjects (we, you, and they), French possessive adjectives are far simpler. There are only two forms for each grammatical person: singular and plural. OUR notre (singular) notre stylo > our pen nos (plural) nos montres > our watches YOUR (vous form) votre (singular) votre stylo > your pen vos (plural) vos montres > your watches THEIR leur (singular) leur stylo > their pen leurs (plural) leurs montres > their watches Continue Reading Understanding and Using French Adjectives How Can I Express Possession in French? French Articles Can Be Confusing — Here's How to Make Sense of Them French Adjectives in Front of a Vowel or Mute H Masculine and Feminine French Nouns - Learn How to Tell Them Apart French Vocabulary Guide: Parts of the Body Learn How to Use Indirect Objects and Indirect Object Pronouns Better/Best: What's the Equivalent in French? In French, Je Ne Sais Quoi Is More Than a Common Expression Plural French Subject Pronouns Nous Vous Ils and Elles A Guide to French Demonstrative Adjectives These Are the 10 Most Common Intermediate-Level French Mistakes Need to Know the Gender of a French Noun? 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