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Grammar - Possessive Adjectives

This Spanish Easy Review quiz will test you on grammar, specifically possessive adjectives.

Just as we have possessive adjectives in English so too does Spanish have them. Possessive adjectives include my, your, his, hers, ours, and theirs. Remember in Spanish words will refer to either male(s), female(s) or a mixture of male(s) and female(s). In addition, there are two forms of possessive adjectives, the short form and the long form.

In Spanish Easy Review we will only be working with the short form.

So now let’s see what they are.

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English (Singular) Spanish (Singular) Spanish (Plural) Pronounced As
my mi mis mē / mēs
your tu (familiar) tus two / twos
your su (formal) sus sue / sues
his/her su sus sue / sues
our nuestro (masculine) nuestros new-ā-strō / new-ā-strōs
our nuestra(feminine) nuestras new-ā-stră / new-ā-străs
your vuestro (masculine / familiar) vuestros voo-ā-strō / voo-ā-strōs
your vuestra (feminine / familiar) vuestras voo-ā-stră / voo-ā-străs
their su (formal) sus sue / sues

Did you notice that there are masculine and feminine ways to say the same thing? In addition, the possessive adjectives can be singular or plural. Now that’s different from English isn’t it? The reason the possessive adjectives can be singular and plural in Spanish is because they are dependent upon whether the subject or object is singular or plural. For example, in English we would say 'my house'. In Spanish this would be 'mi casa.' But now if in English we were to say they are 'my houses' we use the same form of the word 'my' but in Spanish it would be 'mis casas.' Since there is more than one house the possessive adjective becomes plural.

Just as there are several ways to say 'you' in Spanish, so too are there several ways to say 'your' with one being familiar and one being more formal. Notice here that when you say 'your' familiar, i.e. tu, that there is no accent mark over the 'u' as there was with the word you (tú). Part of the accent mark’s role in Spanish is to change the form of the word and/or to change the meaning of the word entirely. This is why learning the accent mark is important - but that will be in another quiz.

As you will note from the possessive adjectives above, the words 'our' (nuestro/nuestra and nuestros/nuestras) and 'your' (plural familiar - vuestro/vuestra and vuestros/vuestras) are gender specific. Remember if there is a mixture of males and females then use the masculine form of the possessive adjective.

Finally, did you notice that 'your' and 'their' (formal) is the same word in Spanish, i.e. su and sus? When speaking and writing in Spanish, how these words are used in the context of a sentence will determine whether it is 'your' or 'their'.

Once again you are probably feeling quite confused and a bit overwhelmed. Remember you are learning Spanish bit by bit so just take a tiny bite out of these new possessive adjective words until you feel comfortable with them. Slowly pronounce them. When you feel like you are ready, then move forward to the quiz questions and see if you are able to get them all right. Ready? Then begin the quiz!

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  1. My father is a doctor. Which form of the possessive adjective 'my' is needed to be used below?
    Whose father is it? My father. This is why 'my' is a possessive adjective because it describes or tells us something about the father. As there is only one father, we need to use a singular possessive adjective. This eliminates the second and third answers. The first answer is the feminine form of the word 'mine' so it is not needed here. The last answer is the correct possessive adjective to be used for 'my'.
  2. Grandfather, your shoes look funny. Which form of the possessive adjective 'your' is needed to be used here?
    Looking at the possession here we see 'your shoes'. It does not say 'your shoe' so we know we need to use the plural form of the possessive adjective. This means we can eliminate the first and second answers. Now whose shoes do they belong to? Grandfather and grandfather is very familiar so we are looking for the familiar, plural form of 'your'. The third answer 'tus' is the familiar, plural form that describes the possession of the shoes.
  3. Jimmy and Paul looked at their friends and said, 'Don’t touch our bikes.' Which form of the possessive adjective 'our' is needed to be used here?
    This one might be a little tricky. Your first thought might be that 'ours' refers to Jimmy and Paul and, since Jimmy and Paul are both males, then the plural, masculine form of 'ours' needs to be used, i.e., nuestros. However, look at it this way. Whose bikes are they? They are 'our bikes'. 'Our' is a possessive adjective that further describes the bikes. Bike, in Spanish is bicicleta, and bikes is bicicletas. It is a feminine word. Adjectives need to take on the gender of the thing that they describe. Therefore, ours must be in the plural, feminine form, i.e., nuestras.
  4. The money collected for the Girl Scouts' cookies was given to their leader. Which form of the possessive adjective 'their' is needed to be used here?
    We know from this sentence there is only one leader so we will need to use the singular form of the possessive adjective. This eliminates the last answer as it is plural. We are talking about Girl Scouts so we are dealing with the feminine context which eliminates both the first and last answers. The leader is a general, formal person so we need to use the formal version of the possessive adjective 'their'. The second answer is the correct form of the word 'their' to be used here.
  5. Karen and Becky are attending their cousin Nancy’s birthday party. Which form of the possessive adjective 'their' is needed to be used here?
    Karen and Becky are females, as is Nancy. Nancy is 'their' cousin. When it comes to the possessive adjective of 'their', there is no gender associated with it. The first and third answers refer to 'your' so they can be eliminated. Now is there one cousin or more than one cousin? There is only one cousin which means you are looking for the singular form of 'their' and that is 'su'.
  6. My clothes are your clothes. Which form of the possessive adjectives 'my' and 'your' are needed to be used here?
    The first thing to do is to try and eliminate some of the answers. As 'clothes' is plural we know that our possessive adjectives need to be plural. Now we can eliminate the second and third answers because they are both singular forms of possessive pronouns. My or 'mis' is the same in the first and last answers so now we need to determine whether 'your' is familiar or formal. When you do not know if it is familiar or formal, you always choose the formal version. Therefore, the first answer is correct because it has the formal version of 'your'.
  7. Their brother was given their report cards. Which form of the possessive adjectives 'their' and 'their' are needed to be used here?
    First thing to think about here is that we are working with possessive adjectives. Adjectives, when they can, take on the gender and number of the thing that they are describing. The first 'their' describes a brother - just one brother. Therefore, it will be in the singular form. The second 'their' is describing report cards. That is plural. That means you need to find a plural form. The last answer shows two singular forms so it can be eliminated. Next, the first answer shows the first possessive adjective is feminine. Brother is masculine so it can be eliminated as well. Now, which Spanish word means 'their'. It is 'su' and 'sus' that is shown in the second answer.
  8. Dad, your boss just called. Which form of the possessive adjective 'your' is needed to be used here?
    The subject/object here is singular, i.e. boss, so we know we are looking for a singular possessive adjective. This means we can eliminate the second and third answers. The relationship with Dad is very familiar and tells us we are looking for the familiar version of the possessive pronoun 'your'. This means that the last answer is the correct version we are looking for.
  9. My students are the best I’ve ever had! Which form of the possessive adjective 'my' is needed to be used here?
    As the subject/object is plural, i.e. students, we know we are looking for the plural form of the possessive adjective 'my' and we can, therefore, eliminate the third and last answers. The first and last answers are the singular and plural form of the word 'mine' so neither of them are correct here. This leaves us the second answer which is the correct form of the plural possessive adjective we need here for 'my'.
  10. Our mother is related to your father. Which form of the possessive adjectives 'our' and 'your' are needed to be used here?
    Always begin by trying to eliminate the wrong answers. If our mother is related to your father then everyone is related making their relationship familiar. We can eliminate any formal relationship possessive adjectives which means we can eliminate the second and last answers. Next, as these are possessive adjectives, don't forget that adjectives need to take on the gender of the noun that they are describing. As mother is a feminine noun and father is a masculine noun, you need to have a feminine possessive adjective and a masculine possessive adjective, i.e., nuestra (our mother) and vuestro (your father).

Author: Christine G. Broome

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