How to Form and Use Possessive Adjectives

Woman showing another woman her puppy
My dog is very friendly. Juanmonino / Getty Images

Possessive adjectives are used to show ownership of an item or an idea. Possessive adjectives are very similar to possessive pronouns and the two are often confused. Take a look at these examples of possessive adjectives immediately followed by possessive pronouns used in a similar sense.

Possessive Adjective Examples

  • My dog is very friendly.
  • Her book is red.
  • Our house is painted yellow.

Possessive Pronouns Examples

  • That friendly dog is mine.
  • The red book is hers.
  • That yellow house is ours.

If you are unsure focus on the placement of possessive adjectives which are placed directly before the noun they modify.

Possessive Adjectives Usage

Possessive adjectives are used when the reference to which person or thing is understood. For example:

Jack lives on this street. His house is over there.

The possessive adjective 'his' refers to Jack because of the context. Remember that possessive adjectives come in front of the noun they modify. Here is a list of possessive adjectives:

  • I - my car
  • You - your dog
  • He - his boat
  • She - her family
  • It - its fabric(NOT it's!)
  • We - our class
  • You - your jobs
  • They - their toys

Examples:

  • I took my daughter to the movies.
  • Where is your house?
  • I picked up his book yesterday.
  • That's her car over there.
  • Its color is red!
  • Our company is doing very well.
  • Your bicycles are located in the basement.
  • Their toys are in the closet.

Possessive Adjective Checklist

  • Place adjectives directly before the noun they modify
  • Possessive adjectives are very similar in usage to possessive pronouns
  • Possessive adjectives are used when the context is clear who is in possession of an object
  • Note the similarity in form between possessive adjectives and pronouns

Use these resources for more detailed information on other possessive forms:

This general guide to possessive forms quickly compares all three types of possessive forms.

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Beare, Kenneth. "How to Form and Use Possessive Adjectives." ThoughtCo, Mar. 27, 2017, thoughtco.com/possessive-adjectives-1210690. Beare, Kenneth. (2017, March 27). How to Form and Use Possessive Adjectives. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/possessive-adjectives-1210690 Beare, Kenneth. "How to Form and Use Possessive Adjectives." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/possessive-adjectives-1210690 (accessed September 20, 2017).