What is a possessive pronoun?

A possessive pronoun is a part of speech that takes the place of a noun to show possession or ownership, indicating that something belongs to someone. Possessive pronouns are possessive forms of personal pronouns (he, she, they, etc.).

What is a possessive pronoun

Writers typically use possessive pronouns to replace a noun phrase, allowing them to prevent the repetition of a noun within a sentence:

  • Repeating noun: The blue one is her car, and the red one is my car.
  • Possessive pronoun: The blue one is her car, and the red one is mine.

Although including an apostrophe "s" shows possession with nouns (possessive nouns), possessive pronouns should not include an apostrophe.

  • Possessive noun: That book is Sasha’s.
  • Possessive pronoun: That book is hers.
"It's" is not a possessive pronoun; it is the contraction form of "it is."

Table of Contents

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  1. Definition
  2. Independent
  3. Dependent
  4. Examples

Independent possessive pronouns

Independent possessive pronouns, also known as absolute possessive pronouns, are used to reference an established noun (antecedent) within a sentence.

Independent possessive pronouns (hers, his, mine) are positioned after a noun in a sentence or clause, whereas dependent pronouns (her, my, our) are placed before a noun.

Independent possessive pronouns

Since they reference an already identified noun, independent possessive pronouns typically are positioned toward the end of a sentence or clause. These pronouns cannot precede a noun.

Independent possessive pronouns include the following:

  • Hers
  • His
  • Mine
  • Theirs
  • Ours
  • Yours

For example:

The brown cat is ours.

The house on the left is theirs.

Dependent possessive pronouns

Dependent possessive pronouns (also known as possessive determiners, possessive adjectives, and weak possessive pronouns) also replace nouns and indicate ownership or a relationship.

Dependent possessive pronouns

Unlike their independent counterpart, dependent possessive pronouns are placed before the noun, as they function as adjectives. Its purpose is to show ownership between a person and the noun placed after the pronoun.

Dependent possessive pronouns include the following:

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

For example:

My fence is white.

His house is made of brick.

Possessive pronoun example sentences

The following identify examples of independent and dependent possessive pronouns.

Independent possessive pronoun examples:

  • Robin wanted the role to be hers.
  • Simon thought he grabbed his lunch, but he didn't.
  • While the computer was initially mine, I gave it to Jordan.
  • Our team luckily beat theirs this weekend.
  • Are all of those presents ours?
  • Those are all Dakota’s, and those over there are yours.

Independent possessive pronoun examples

Dependent possessive pronoun example sentences:

  • Her idea of a good time includes curling up with a good book.
  • Gavin invited the entire class to swim in his pool.
  • The bird loved its new house high up in the tree.
  • I didn't recognize my own voice on the recording.
  • Everyone can visit our lake cabin in the summer.
  • Their new house was twice the size of the last one.
  • Is that your book on the circulation desk in the library?

Dependent possessive pronoun examples

Learn about other English grammar terms like subject pronouns, object pronouns, and adverbs.

What you learned:

After working your way through this lesson and video, you have learned:

  • What possessive pronouns are
  • The differences between independent and dependent possessive pronouns
  • Grammar rules for how to properly use possessive pronouns
Instructor: Malcolm M.
Malcolm has a Master's Degree in education and holds four teaching certificates. He has been a public school teacher for 27 years, including 15 years as a mathematics teacher.

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