Difference Between Possessive Pronouns and Possessive Adjectives

Possessive Pronouns vs Possessive Adjectives
 

When it comes to the possessive case, knowing the difference between possessive pronouns and possessive adjectives is a must. In the English language, we use possessive adjectives and pronouns to speak of ownership or possession of things or even people. Of the two types, possessive adjectives are adjectives that are used to highlight ownership, while possessive pronouns are pronouns that deal with ownership. So the key difference between the two types mainly stem from the fact that while one is used as an adjective in front of nouns, the other replaces nouns and is used when there arises a necessity to emphasize ownership. The purpose of this article is to explain what possessive adjectives and pronouns are, and highlight the difference between possessive pronouns and possessive adjectives.

What are Possessive Adjectives?

In simple language, possessive adjectives are a type of adjectives that are used when we want to highlight ownership. These stem from the basic pronouns of the language under 1st person, 2nd person and 3rd person.These can be presented through a table as follows.

  1st Person   Singular   My
  Plural   Our
  2nd Person   Singular   Your
  Plural   Your
  3rd Person   Singular   His/Her/Its
  Plural   Their

Now, let us use look at an example.

  •  I met Clara’s mother at the supermarket yesterday.
  • I met her mother at the supermarket yesterday.

As you can see in the sentence above the word Clara’s has been replaced with the possessive adjective her.
When using the possessive adjective in the interrogative form, we use “whose”.

  •  Whose book is that?

Once again even though it is the interrogative form, the function of the possessive adjective is to show ownership.

What are Possessive Pronouns?

Possessive pronouns are also used to indicate ownership. However, since these are pronouns they replace the noun of a sentence with the possessive pronoun unlike an adjective that is placed in front of a noun to describe it. These also come from the basic pronouns of the language under 1st person, 2nd person and 3rd person and can be presented through a table as follows.

  1st Person   Singular   Mine
  Plural   Ours
  2nd Person   Singular   Yours
  Plural   Yours
  3rd Person   Singular   His/ Hers
  Plural   Theirs

Now, let us look at an example.

  • My painting is ugly, but yours look beautiful.

In the example ‘yours’ is a possessive pronoun which refers to the person’s painting.

  •  Is this your pen or is it mine?

Once again, the example above shows how the possessive pronoun can be used in order to avoid repetition by replacing the words ‘my pen’ with the usage of ‘mine’.

In the interrogative form the possessive pronoun is ‘whose’ just as in possessive adjectives.

What is the difference between Possessive Pronouns and Possessive Adjectives?

Now that we have understood the nature of possessive pronouns and possessive adjectives along with their usage in the English language, it is clear that these are two different concepts.

• This is mainly because while possessive adjectives are adjectives that stand in front of a noun indicating ownership, possessive pronouns completely replace the noun of a sentence with a pronoun that indicates ownership.