Possessive determiners indicate possession of someone, something, or some place. They use words such as my, your, his, her, its, our, and their before a noun. Possessive determiners are the same as possessive adjectives which are also used to show ownership.

Most of the words used as determiners are also used as pronouns. However, all the possessive determiners (and a few other determiners) cannot be used as pronouns.

This table shows the possessive determiners.

Singular Plural
1st person my our
2nd person your
3rd person

his

her 

its

their

 

Examples:

  • Who broke my wine glass?
  • Your dog may have more fleas than mine as it scratched itself much more.
  • His left leg was broken in two places in the accident.
  • She looks just like her mother.
  • Its back was bitten by a dog.
  • Our dinner was delayed because mum was stuck in a traffic jam.
  • Their parents refused to visit him in prison.

 

The definite determiner the may be used instead of a possessive determiner. However, when referring to someone in the family or a relative, the may not be used.

Examples:

  • She punched him on his nose.
  • She punched him on the nose.
  • We walked back to our house when it started to rain.
  • We walked back to the house when it started to rain.

 

  • No: The wife is watching me cook.
  • Yes: My wife is watching me cook.
  • No: I called the uncle to hurry up.
  • Yes: I called my uncle to hurry up.