Possessive Pronouns

Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns show ownership.

Quick Refresher

 Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns

How good is your vocabulary? Let's take a peek into the dictionary.

Possess: to have, to own

That was short.

Knowing what possess means will help you remember what these kinds of pronouns do. They show possession.

Sometimes they are used alone, and sometimes they are used before nouns. Let's check out each kind. 

Used Alone mine
his, hers,
Used Before Nouns my
his, her, its,

Used Alone

Here are the possessive pronouns that can be used alone.

mine, yours, his, hers, ours, theirs, whose

When they are used alone, these pronouns can do any of the noun jobs (subject, direct object, object of the preposition...).

Yours are the best cookies!

It may sound a little bit strange, but that sentence works. Yours is the subject of the sentence. 

Have you started diagramming sentences yet? If you have, you'll be happy to know that when these guys act alone, you diagram them just like you would diagram any other noun or pronoun.

Since nouns and pronouns can perform many jobs in our sentences, you must first decide which job the pronoun is performing.

Then, you'll be able to diagram it like a rock star!

Sentence diagram highlighting noun jobs

Used Before Nouns

Here are the possessive pronouns that are used before nouns.

my, your, his, her, its, our, their, whose

Although these pronouns basically function as adjectives (Hey, they are modifying nouns!), some people still call them pronouns.

I focus on the fact that they are functioning as adjectives, and so I call them adjectives.

Sentence diagram

This is my cookie.

The word my is helping to tell us a little bit more about the noun cookie. It;s modifying a noun, so it is acting as an adjective. When these guys are used before nouns, diagram them just like adjectives.

Find the noun that the pronoun is modifying and place the pronoun on a slanted line under that noun.

In this picture, you could place the pronoun anywhere that it says adjective.

Sentence diagram of adjectives

To learn more about diagramming sentences, use these grammar exercises.

Apostrophes? Don't Do It!

People often get confused and think that apostrophes belong in these pronouns.

* Those people are crazy. It's not true. Don't do it unless you want to look like a fool! *


it's, her's, our's, their's, your's


its, hers, ours, theirs, yours

Note that the word it's is different from the word its. It's is a contraction for the two words it is. Its is a possessive pronoun.

Compound Possessive Pronouns

How to form compound possessives with personal pronouns

What's the right answer? You can learn how to form compound possessives that contain personal pronouns here.

If you'd like to teach or learn grammar the easy way—with sentence diagrams—check out our Get Smart Grammar Program.

It starts from the very beginning and teaches you grammar and sentence diagramming in easy, bite-size lessons. 

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