Spanish Grammar: Possessive Adjectives and Noun Agreement

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  • 0:07 Possessive Adjectives
  • 0:36 Example: Mi Familia
  • 1:44 Possessive Adjectives…
  • 3:39 Possessive Adjectives Chart
  • 5:24 Noun Agreement
  • 8:24 Practice
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ashley Garcias-Casas
Mi casa es su casa. You have probably heard this before but never stopped to analyze the literal meaning. In this lesson, we will break it down and look at the possessive adjectives which are used to express 'my,' 'your,' 'his,' 'her,' 'our' and 'their.'

What Are the Possessive Adjectives?

Mi casa es su casa. Maybe some of you have heard this phrase. Oftentimes it's used as somebody enters your home as a way of saying, 'Make yourself at home.' But can you guess what the literal translation would be? Mi casa es su casa is literally saying, 'My house is your house.' In this lesson, we are going to look at the possessive adjectives in Spanish which express 'my,' 'your,' 'his,' 'her,' 'our' and 'their.'

Example: Mi Familia

Now, we are going to meet Amanda, and she will tell us about her family. Try to identify the Spanish equivalent for the possessive adjectives mentioned above.

Hola. Mi nombre es Amanda. Tengo una familia pequeña. Mi hermano se llama Francisco y es muy deportista. Su deporte favorito es béisbol. Mis padres se llaman Ana y Pedro. A mi padre también le gustan los deportes. Sus deportes favoritos son baloncesto y fútbol. A mi madre le gusta leer. Su libro favorito es Don Quijote. A mis padres les gusta ver la televisión. Su programa favorito es The Simpsons, pero también les gusta el cine. Sus películas favoritas son Titanic y Batman. Nuestro perro se llama Roni. Su casa es muy pequeña, pero nuestra casa es grande.

?Y tú? ?Cómo es tu familia? ?Cómo son tus padres?

Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

Okay, Amanda told us a lot about her family. Let's go back and look at each possessive adjective.

How do you think we say 'my' in Spanish? If you need to, go back and listen again. !Bien!

  • mi , mis = my

She says, Mi nombre es Amanda, and Mis padres se llaman Ana y Pedro.

What about 'your?' She doesn't mention this one until the end, when she informally asks the listener ?Cómo es tufamilia? ?Cómo son tus_padres? Good!

  • tu, tus = your

In Spanish, the same two possessive adjectives are used to express 'his,' 'her' and the formal 'your.' Can you guess what it is? Bien!

  • su, sus = his, her, your (formal)

Amanda told us about her brother and his favorite sport and said: Su deporte favorito es béisbol. She spoke about her mom and her favorite book: Su libro favorito es Don Quijote.

What about 'our?'

  • nuestro, nuestra, nuestros, nuestras = our

She mentioned, Nuestro perro se llama Roni, Nuestra casa es grande.

Finally, she talked about her parents and their favorite TV show and movies. What possessive adjective did she use?

  • su, sus = 'their'

Su programa de televisión favorito es The Simpsons. Sus películas favoritas son Titanic y Batman.

Possessive Adjectives Chart

Good. Let's quickly look at this chart that includes some possessive adjectives that weren't mentioned earlier. Then we will learn when to use each one.

  • mi, mis = my
  • tu, tus = your (informal)

Now remember, this is the informal way of saying 'your.' You would use tu when addressing family, friends or in any other informal relationship. Notice that it does not have a written accent. with an accent means 'you,' and tu without an accent means 'your.'

If we wanted to say 'your' in a formal setting, we would use:

  • su, sus = your (formal)

For example, if you wanted to say to your boss, 'Your meeting starts now', you would use the formal 'your' and say, Su reunión empieza ahora. And with the example mentioned at the beginning: Mi casa es su casa, we are using the formal 'your' here as well.

  • su, sus = his, her
  • nuestro/a/os/as = our
  • vuestro/a/os/as = your (plural)

This plural form of 'your' is primarily used in Spain. Other countries would use su and sus as the plural 'your.'

  • su, sus = your (formal)

For example, I use this plural 'your' when asking a group of people, 'Do you all have your papers?' Ustedes tienen sus papeles?

Finally, to express 'their' we use:

  • su, sus = their

Noun Agreement

Now that we know what the possessive adjectives are, the next question is how to use them! If you noticed when we use 'my,' 'your,' 'his,' 'her,' 'your' (plural) and 'their,' each possessive adjective has two forms (singular and plural).

  • mi, mis
  • tu, tus
  • su, sus

The possessive adjective 'our' has four forms because it also includes gender:

  • nuestro, nuestra, nuestros, nuestras

So, how do we know when to use each one? Each possessive adjective must agree with the noun it is possessing. For example:

_ bicicleta es roja. Here, if we were saying, 'My bike is red,' what would we use? Mi bicicleta es roja. Great. Now, what if I wanted to say, 'My bikes are fast?'

_ bicicletas son rápidas. Now before we were just talking about one bike, so we used the singular mi But now, I am talking about multiple bikes, bicicletas, so what should I use? Good, Mis bicicletas son rápidas.

The same rule applies when using 'your' (both informal and formal), 'his,' 'her' and 'their.' Let's quickly go through using the same example of the bicycle.

Your bike is red. Let's use the informal 'your' Tu bicicleta es roja.

Your bikes are fast. Tus bicicletas son rápidas.

His/Her bike is red. Su bicicleta es roja.

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