Possessive adjectives agree with the nouns they modify. That is, they agree with what is possessed, not the possessor.
In the following examples, the singular and plural endings are noted in bold.
|mi cuaderno||my notebook||su silla||your, his, her, their chair|
|tus cuadernos||your notebooks||sus sillas||your, his, her, their chairs|
|Before singular nouns||Before plural nouns||English|
|tu||tus||your (singular, familiar)|
|su||sus||your (singular, formal), his, her|
|nuestro, nuestra||nuestros, nuestras||our|
|vuestro, vuestra||vuestros, vuestras||your (plural, familiar)|
|su||sus||your (plural, formal), their (masculine, feminine)|
Notice that in addition to agreeing in number, "nuestro, nuestra, nuestros, nuestras" and "vuestro, vuestra, vuestros, vuestras" also change to agree with the noun they modify in gender (masculine or feminine).
In the following examples, the masculine and feminine endings are noted in bold.
|Gender and Number Agreement||Spanish Masculine||English||Spanish Feminine||English|
|Spanish Singular||nuestro libro||our book||vuestra casa||your house|
|Spanish Plural||nuestros libros||our books||vuestras casas||your houses|
Phrases with "de"
Unlike English, Spanish does not use "apostrophe + s" construction to express possession. Instead, we use "article + noun + de + subject pronoun or noun" to express possession.
|María's mom||La madre de María|
|Pedro's cousins||Los primos de Pedro|
Since the possessive adjective "su" and "sus" can refer to several owners (usted, él, ella, ustedes, ellos, ellas), the phrase "article + noun + de + subject pronoun" is often used to avoid confusion on who the owner is. Observe the difference between the following two sentences:
Owner not specified:
Su casa es bonita.
La casa de ella es bonita.
On the examples for "owner specified" above, any of the subject pronouns in bold can be used.
As you learned previously, when the preposition "de" precedes the article "el", they contract to "del". Note that it does not form a contraction with the subject pronoun "él" as it is not an article.
The formula "ser + de + subject pronoun or noun" is normally used to express possession:
- La casa grande es de Vanessa y Carlos.
- El cuaderno es de él.
- La calculadora es de Ud.
- Los diccionarios son de las chicas.
The examples above use bold to highlight the use of the formula "ser + de + subject pronoun or noun".