Spanish possessive adjectives: What they are & how to use them

Leveling up your Spanish involves packing plenty of information in just a few words. Learning the possessive adjectives in Spanish can help you do just that.

If you’ve been studying Spanish for any period of time, you’re probably already familiar with some possessive adjectives. Even if you’re still a beginner at Spanish, I’m sure you’re already familiar with some of the most basic possessive adjectives.

For example, when introducing yourself in Spanish, you’ve probably learned to say mi nombre es (my name is). In this sample sentence, the word mi is a possessive adjective that tells us who possesses the noun in question (in this case, nombre, or “name”). Without possessive adjectives, it would be unclear whose name you’re talking about.

If you’re an intermediate Spanish speaker, you may be wondering “wait, isn’t that what possessive pronouns do?” And you wouldn’t be wrong! Indeed, possessive pronouns help us talk about ownership of a noun, but there’s a key difference between possessive adjectives and pronouns. Keep reading to learn what that is!

So, ready to learn more about possessive adjectives in Spanish? Soon, you’ll be able to start claiming what’s yours! Let’s get started.

What are the possessive adjectives in Spanish?

Possessive adjectives add ownership information to a noun. In other words, they help us specify who or what the noun in question belongs to.

There are two types of possessive adjectives in Spanish: short form and long form. They both do the same thing, except that long form possessive adjectives emphasize the ownership over the noun. We’ll cover both of them below!

What’s the difference between possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns?

If you read our ultimate guide to Spanish pronouns, you probably remember that a pronoun is a word that we use to replace a noun. We use pronouns to avoid repetition, as the noun we’re replacing is already abundantly clear from the context.

Adjectives, on the other hand, describe nouns. So, an adjective is always accompanied by a noun, whereas a pronoun replaces the noun entirely.

The difference between possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns is that possessive adjectives provide ownership information about a noun, whereas possessive pronouns eliminate the noun completely.

An easy trick to check if you’re dealing with a possessive adjective or possessive pronoun is to see if there is a noun next to it. If you can find the noun that is being claimed, then you’re dealing with a possessive adjective. Otherwise, you’re dealing with a possessive pronoun!

Short form Spanish possessive adjectives

The first thing you need to know about possessive adjectives in Spanish is that they agree with the gender and number of the noun they are modifying. Not with the speaker, but with the noun they are modifying. I’m only emphasizing this because I’ve seen far too many non-native Speakers make this mistake to let you, my friends, make it as well!

Most short form Spanish possessive adjectives are indifferent towards gender, as you’ll see in our chart below. So, the only thing you’ll have to worry about with these is whether the noun in question is singular or plural.

However, when conjugating in the first and second person plural (nuestro, vuestro), you’ll also have to take gender into account.

Check out the following short form possessive adjectives in Spanish chart.

English Spanish: Masculine, singular Spanish: Feminine, singular Spanish: Masculine, plural Spanish: Feminine, plural
My mi mi mis mis
Your tu tu tus tus
His/Her/Its su su sus sus
Our nuestro nuestra nuestros nuestras
Your su / vuestro su / vuestra sus / vuestros sus / vuestras
Their su su sus sus

Short form Spanish possessive adjectives examples

English Spanish IPA Pronunciation
Have you seen my shirt? ¿Has visto mi camisa? ˈas̬ ˈβisto mi kaˈmisa ‖ ahs vees-toh me ca-mee-sah
I love your car! ¡Me encanta tu carro! mɛ ɛ̃nˈkãnta tu ˈkaro ‖ meh ehn-can-ta too cah-ro
I want her purse. Quiero su bolso. ˈkjɛɾo su ˈβolso ‖ key-air-oh soo bol-so
These are our snacks. Estas son nuestras botanas. ˈɛstas ˈsõn ˈnwɛstɾas̬ βoˈtanas ‖ ehs-tahs son noo-ehs-tras bo-tah-nas
These are your seats. Estos son sus asientos. ˈɛstos ˈsõn sus aˈsjɛ̃ntos ‖ ehs-tos son soos ah-see-ehn-toss
Do you know if these are their favorites? ¿Sabes si estos son sus favoritos? ˈsaβes sj ˈɛstos ˈsõn sus faβoˈɾitos ‖ sah-behs see ehs-tos son soos fah-voh-ree-toss

Long form Spanish possessive adjectives

Long form possessive adjectives are also known as stressed Spanish possessive adjectives, which should give you a hint as to what they do. Their meaning is the same as that of short form possessive adjectives, except that these stress the ownership of the noun.

For example, you would use a long form possessive adjective when there are multiple of the same items and you want to stress the ownership of one. In English, for example, you’d say: she isn’t a stranger, she is a friend of ours. Here, you’re stressing whose friend she is in order to stress that she isn’t a stranger.

Now, all Spanish long form possessive adjectives vary depending on the gender, so here is where things get a bit more complicated. Whenever you use a Spanish long form possessive adjective, you’ll have to make sure that they agree both in gender and number with the noun in question.

So, even if you’re a male, you would use feminine possessive adjectives when talking about female nouns, and vice-versa. Even if this may feel slightly odd at first, rest assured that this is one of the most common rookie mistakes among non-native speakers. So, getting this under control early on will put you ahead of the curve, helping you sound like a native much sooner!

Check out the following long form possessive adjectives in Spanish chart.

English Spanish: Masculine, singular Spanish: Feminine, singular Spanish: Masculine, plural Spanish: Feminine, plural
Mine mío mía míos mías
Yours tuyo tuya tuyos tuyas
His/Hers/Theirs suyo suya suyos suyas
Ours nuestro nuestra nuestros nuestras
Yours suyo / vuestro suya / vuestra suyos / vuestros suyas / vuestras
Theirs suyo suya suyos suyas

Long form Spanish possessive adjectives examples

English Spanish IPA Pronunciation
The pleasure is mine. El placer es mío. ɛl plaˈsɛɾ ˈɛs̬ ˈmio ‖ ehl plah-ser ehs mee-oh
This sandwich is yours. Este sándwich es tuyo. ˈɛste ˈsãndwiʧ ˈɛs ˈtuʝo ‖ ehs-teh sandwich ehs too-yo
Excuse me, this seat is hers. Disculpa, este asiento es suyo. disˈkulpa | ˈɛste aˈsjɛ̃nto ˈɛs ˈsuʝo ‖ dees-cool-pah, ehs-teh ah-see-ehn-toe ehs too-yo
These tables are ours. Estas mesas son nuestras. ˈɛstas̬ ˈmesas ˈsõn ˈnwɛstɾas ‖ ehs-tas meh-sas son noo-ehs-trahs
These paintings are yours Estas pinturas son vuestras. ˈɛstas pĩnˈtuɾas ˈsõm ˈbwɛstɾas ‖ ehs-tas peen-too-rahs son voo-ehs-trahs
That room is theirs. Esa habitación es la suya. ˈesa aβitaˈsjon ˈɛs̬ la ˈsuʝa ‖ eh-s ah-bee-tah-see-ohn ehs la soo-ya

When not to use possessive adjectives in Spanish

When not to use possessive adjectives in Spanish.

1. Body parts

If you bump your head in English, you’d say something like “Ow! My head!” If that happens to you in a Spanish-speaking environment, you’d probably be inclined to use a possessive adjective as well. However, you should resist the urge to do so.

Spanish is a very pragmatic language. There is often very little repetition, as redundancies are avoided whenever possible. If you’re talking about your own body parts, there’s no need to clarify ownership as it’s implied that you’re talking about your own.

If you’re talking about someone else’s body parts, then you’ll probably use a conjugated verb that would give that away. Conjugated verbs will usually contain information about whose body parts you’re talking about, so there’s no need to repeat that with a possessive adjective.

For example, you would say “Dame la mano” when asking someone to give you their hand. In this example, “Dame” is the conjugated version of the verb dar in the second person imperative (Dame), along with the first person indirect object pronoun at the end (Dame). Although that sounds like a mouthful, all it means is that you’re commanding someone else to give something to you.

If it sounds confusing, don’t worry about it for now. Spanish verb conjugations are often the most challenging thing about learning the language for non-native speakers, and that’s because they pack a lot of “hidden” information, such as in the example above. Nonetheless, you’ll be able to get the hang of them in due time with enough practice!

2. Obvious situations

Again, Spanish hates repetition, so feel free to avoid using possessive adjectives whenever ownership is obvious. The most common example is when talking about your house. For example, you’d say “ya me voy a la casa” in most cases.

There’s nothing wrong with using a possessive adjective to specify, such as by saying “Ya me voy a mi casa,” but it’s also not necessary.

3. Emotions, feelings, and intangible objects

Once again, here’s Spanish coming at you with some more pragmatism. How could you possess something that you can’t physically hold? If you want to get into a philosophical debate over ownership, Spanish won’t have any of it. Generally speaking, you can’t use possessive adjectives for intangible nouns and that’s the end of the story!

So, when talking about feelings and emotions in Spanish, you’ll want to use definite articles rather than possessive adjectives. For example:

  • Ya se le quitó el enojo.
  • Aún no ha perdido la esperanza.
  • Te mando un abrazo con todo el amor del mundo.

Frequently asked questions

How do you say “your” in Spanish?

Your in Spanish is “tu,” which is a possessive adjective. You can use this before a noun to specify that that noun belongs to the person you’re talking to. Make sure not to confuse tu with , as the one with the accent mark means “you.”

Here are some examples of how to use tu in Spanish:

English Spanish IPA Pronunciation
This is your sandwich. Este es tu sándwich. ˈɛste ˈɛs tu ˈsãndwiʧ ‖ ehs-teh ehs too sandwich
I like your hat. Me gusta tu sombrero. me ˈɣusta tu sõmˈbɾɛɾo ‖ meh goos-tah too som-breh-roh
Is that your car? ¿Ese es tu carro? ˈese ˈɛs tu ˈkaro ‖ eh-seh ehs too cah-roh

Claim what’s yours with Spanish possessive adjectives

Now that you’re a true professional at using Spanish possessive adjectives, you can start taking things and claiming them as your own! No, but seriously, using possessive adjectives will help you become so much more precise with your speech, which will only get you closer to sounding more like a native speaker.

We hope you enjoyed nuestro blog and feel like you have a better grasp of the Spanish possessive adjectives! Remember that we publish tons of great (and free) content in our Spanish blog, so make sure to check that out as well.

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