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Possessive pronouns

Possessive pronouns show who has something. There are two types of possessive pronouns. Some act like adjectives and modify nouns, like my, our, your, her, his, its, and their. Others act like nouns and can stand alone, like mine, ours, yours, hers, his, its, and theirs. None of them use an apostrophe.

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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] All right grammarians, let's get down to it, and start talking about possessive pronouns. A possessive pronoun is a pronoun that we use to show possession of something which is just sort of a fancy way of saying "you have it." So possession equals having stuff. Now we can essentially divide possessive pronouns in half, because on this side of the divide, we have a list of pronouns that behave like adjectives, and on this side, we have a group of pronouns that behave like nouns. I'll list them and then we'll give some examples. So the possessive pronoun that behaves like an adjective for me is my. The possessive pronoun that behaves like a noun for me is mine. Our behaves like an adjective; ours behaves like a noun. Your behaves like an adjective; yours behaves like a noun. Her behaves like an adjective; hers behaves like a noun. His behaves like an adjective; his behaves like a noun. Its behaves like an adjective; its behaves like a noun. And their behaves like an adjective, and theirs behaves like a noun. Now I'd like to point out that nowhere in any of these words does there appear such a thing as an apostrophe. That little guy. I know this much is true: there are no apostrophes in possessive pronouns. So it's not ours, it's ours, like that. It's not yours with an apostrophe like that, it's yours with no apostrophe. Likewise it's not hers, his, it's is the big one. That means something entirely different. Or theirs. Across all varieties of English, the possessive pronouns don't have any apostrophes in them. So this is a very handsome looking chart if I do say so myself, but it doesn't really do the work of explaining what I mean by saying my behaves like an adjective, and mine behaves like a noun. So let me get some example sentences down and we'll see what I mean. So let's say that there was a book that I owned. How would I talk about it? Well I could do it two different ways using these possessive pronouns. I could say, "That is my book." And here my is working as an adjective that modifies and describes book. Or I could say, "That book is mine." And here we're using is to connect book to mine, and so in that case we're using mine as a noun. How do we know it's acting like a noun? Because we can use it independently of the word book. So if someone says to me, "David, where is your book?" I can say, "Mine is on the bedside table." Nowhere in this sentence does the word book appear, but we can use mine independently because we've established in a previous sentence that the thing we're talking about is this book. So let's talk about my coworker Girish. Nice fella. And let's say that Girish has a very nice hat. "We would say, "That is Girish's hat." This is what we'd call a possessive noun. But talking of Girish again, we could say, "That is his hat." Now we're using that possessive pronoun as an adjective to modify hat. Whose hat is it? It is his hat. If we wanted to use the personal pronoun that acted like a noun, we would say, "That hat is his." And we can also use his independently of the word hat by saying, "His is the hat with polka dots." So we've got two piles of possessive pronouns here. And one pile behaves like adjectives: my, our, your, her, his, its, their, and the other behaves like nouns: mine, ours, yours, hers, his, its, theirs. And remember, none of them contain an apostrophe. You can learn anything. David out.