Possessive Pronouns — Definition, Rules, and Examples
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.).
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.
Independent possessive pronouns
Independent possessive pronouns, also known as absolute possessive pronouns, 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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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?