Possessive adjectives are a group of words that is very similar to possessive pronouns except that they come before a noun rather than replace it. These words are my, your, his, her, its, our, and their.
- Please don't put your feet on my desk.
- Her dog is wagging its tail.
- Shall we move our tent closer to their cabin?
- It may be your saddle, but it's my horse.
- Her mother doesn't like his father.
- Did my pig frighten your hen?
- Their goat nibbled our petunias.
In each of the sentences above, the possessive word comes before a noun to tell "whose."
Many people consider these words pronouns. Others see them as adjectives because they always come before nouns to modify them. What is important is using them correctly.
(in front of a noun)
- its (very seldom used)
Errors to Avoid
Possessive pronouns do not have apostrophes. The words yours, hers, its, and ours are already possessive.
- INCORRECT: I saw Dad's car but not your's.
- CORRECT: I saw Dad's car but not yours.
- INCORRECT: The decision is her's to make.
- CORRECT: The decision is hers to make.
Also, we must not confuse contractions and possessive pronouns or adjectives.
- you're (you are)
- they're (they are)
- it's (it is)
Choose the correct word to complete each sentence.
- Is (your, you're) dog friendly?
- (Its, It's) teeth are showing.
- Is the beagle (your's, yours) also?
- This dog is bigger than (theirs, their's).
- Is that calico cat (hers, her's)?
- The Smiths think that (there, their, they're) cat is prettier than mine.
- The Smith's cat is orange, but (our's, ours) is gray.
- (There, Their, They're) cat bites and scratches people.
- My cat chases (its, it's) tail.
- Does (your, you're) cat like fish?
- Is your dog friendly?
- Its teeth are showing.
- Is the beagle yours also?
- This dog is bigger than theirs.
- Is that calico cat hers?
- The Smiths think that their cat is prettier than mine.
- The Smith's cat is orange, but ours is gray.
- Their cat bites and scratches people.
- My cat chases its tail.
- Does your cat like fish?