Possessive pronoun masterclass

This lesson helps us understand what a possessive pronoun is, and how to use it in a sentence. Read the post through to master possessive pronouns.

What is a possessive pronoun in English?

A possessive pronoun refers to the possession of a person or a thing, usually a person. It can function as the subject, object, and subject complement.

It shows what a person possesses or owns or what belongs to them, or what is related to them.

Subject pronounsObject pronounsPossessive pronounsPossessive adjectives

All the possessive pronouns leaving ‘its’ refer to the possession of a person.

Possessive pronoun infographics

Possessive pronoun examples


1. You are mine. I can’t see you with anyone else.
2. I mistakenly ate his lunch, thinking it was mine.
3. He is a friend of mine.
4. She always parks her car in front of mine.


1. This is Alex’s laptop, not ours. We can’t use it without his permission.
2. This building is not ours.
3. They do have a few good players, but their team is not as stacked as ours.
4. Did you check the report made by Jon’s team? It is as good as ours.


1. From now, this project is yours. Do whatever you want with it.
2. I always hated my life, but when I got to know yours, I started feeling differently about mine.
3. He can say anything to his kids, but he won’t say a single thing to yours.
4. I am not hitting on her; I know she is yours.


1. I am not too worried about my career; it’s his that worries me.
2. Our house is way bigger than his.
3. Our suits are not the same. His is completely black and mine is grey.
4. His was an extraordinarily written detailed report. It had everything in it.


1. He sent the money to my account instead of hers.
2. My salary is peanuts in comparison to hers.
3. The necklace is hers. We should not think about selling it.
4. This desk is not hers; it’s mine.


1. Our presentation looks far superior to theirs.
2. They have already made the payment. Now, the property is theirs.
3. We might have more employees, but our company is not as big as theirs.


1. This car is strong. The other cars don’t have strong build quality, but its is absolutely amazing.
2. Cow milk has its benefits, and goat milk has its.

Note: we often don’t use ‘its’ as an interrogative pronoun.

Functions of a possessive pronoun

A possessive pronoun functions as the subject, object, and subject complement in a sentence.

Possessive pronoun as the subject

  • This is not my bike. Mine is red in color.
  • Yours was a great party. I loved it.
  • My parents never understood me, but yours are so supportive of you.

Possessive pronoun as the subject complement

  • Give that phone to me. It is mine.
  • I am really sorry that I ate the food. I didn’t know that it was yours.
  • Is this wallet yours? I found it beneath the bed.
  • This is my house, and that is his.

Possessive pronoun as the object

  • There is a friend of mine who has been to more than 50 countries.
  • The teacher found my essay better than yours.
  • I want to buy a house right next to yours.

In the above examples, the possessive pronouns work as the object of a preposition. The prepositions are underlined.

  • The teacher knew my assignment was better, but he still chose yours.
  • I have never liked dogs, but I love yours.

In these sentences, the possession pronoun works as the object of a verb. The verbs are underlined here.

The number of a possession pronoun is decided by the possession it refers to.

The possessive pronouns yours, ours, and theirs refer to a plural pronoun, and all the other ones refer to a singular noun. But when a possessive pronoun functions as the subject of a sentence, the possession it refers to decides whether it is singular or plural. The noun (possession) can be singular or plural.

  • I love my car, but yours is on a different level.
  • My friends are jealous of my success, but yours truly love and support you.

In the first example, the possessive pronoun ‘yours’ refers to the possession of a singular noun ‘car’, and that’s why it takes a singular verb ‘is’.

In the second example, it refers to the possession of a plural noun ‘friends’, and that’s why it takes a plural verb: love and support.

  • It’s not my paper. Mine is way more detailed than this. (refers to a singular noun (paper))
  • I liked your papers, but hers were better than yours. (refers to a plural noun (papers))

Possessive adjective vs Possessive pronoun

Possessive adjectivesPossessive pronoun

Don’t get confused between a possessive adjective and a possessive pronoun. A possessive adjective is followed by a noun, and a possessive pronoun is not.

  • This is my flat. (possessive adjective)
  • This flat is mine. (possessive pronoun)
  • Our company does not pay us on time. (possessive adjective)
  • Ours is a very caring company. (possessive pronoun)
  • I don’t like his attitude. (possessive adjective)
  • I have no problem with your attitude; it is his that I hate. (possessive pronoun)

We generally don’t use ‘its‘ as a possessive pronoun.

We avoid using ‘its’ as a pronoun as it looks incomplete and unnatural. If we want to refer to a possession of a thing, we use it as an adjective and put its possession after it.

  • I love using your car. Its mileage is amazing.
  • I eat apples for breakfast. Its benefits are many.

Important note

The noun a possessive pronoun refers to has to be there in the sentence in the previous sentence/s or in the same one. Without it being there, the readers wouldn’t be able to identify it.

Yours was amazing.

We don’t know what the speaker is referring to using the possessive pronoun ‘yours’. We need more context, and the noun it refers to has to be there.

Your phone has the option to copy text from an image, but mine does not have that option.

The possession the possessive pronoun ‘mine‘ refers to is clear as its possession (the noun ‘phone‘) is mentioned in the sentence.

A possessive pronoun eliminates redundancy

Not only does a possessive pronoun help us refer to what belongs to someone, but it also avoids the possession being overused in a sentence. It helps the writer avoid redundancy and make writing look sound and precise.

This is not my bag. My bag is bigger than her bag. Also, my bag is not black in color, but her bag is.

In this example, observe how the possession, which is ‘bag’, is repeated again and again in these sentences. It looks repetitive and makes the writing look weak. This can be avoided by using possessive pronouns.

This is not my bag. Mine is bigger than hers. Also, mine is not black in color, but hers is.

Now, the sentences look more precise and grammatical.


What is a possessive pronoun?

A possessive pronoun refers to a possession of a person or a thing, usually a person. It can function as the subject, object, and subject complement. There are 7 seven possessive pronouns in English: mine, ours, yours, his, hers, its, and theirs. Unlike a possessive adjective, a possessive pronoun does not take a noun after it and stands alone.

Is our a possessive adjective or pronoun?

Our is a possessive adjective. Its possessive pronoun is ours.
1. We love our parents.
2. We always appreciate their parents but never admire ours.

How do you use possessive pronoun in a sentence?

Possessive pronouns are used to refer to what a person possesses or owns or what belongs to them. The noun it shows the possession of is always there in the sentence or in the previous sentence.

It either comes somewhere before the possessive pronoun or after it.

1. Yours is a great bike. I love riding it. (the possession it refers to is at the end of the sentence)
2. This notebook is not mine. (the possession is at the beginning of the sentence here)

What is the objective of possessive pronouns?

Possessive pronouns help us refer to what belongs to someone and avoid the possession being overused in a sentence.

Now, we know everything about a possessive pronoun. Feel free to share your question, doubt, or feedback in the comment section, and also, share the post with the people that need it.

For one-on-one classes, contact me at [email protected].

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Ashish found his first love—the English language—a few years back. Since then, he has been immersed in the language, breaking down the language and teaching it to passionate English learners. He has a flair for listening to the English language (podcasts, sitcoms, stories), observing the nuances, and making it easy for English learners. He is known for breaking down complex English topics and making them easy to be understood.

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