Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

Quick Answer

Possessive adjectives indicate who possesses or owns something. Like all adjectives in Spanish, possessive adjectives must match the nouns they describe in gender and number.

Short-form and Long-form Adjectives

There are two different forms used for possessive adjectives in Spanish: the short form and the long form. Let's take a look at how each is formed and used.

Short-form Possessive Adjectives

Short-form possessive adjectives are the most common way to express possession and must agree with the noun they describe in gender and number. Except for the for first and second person plural forms, the masculine and feminine forms for short-form possessive adjectives are the same. Remember that these adjectives match the possessed entity in gender and number, not the possessor.

List of Short-form Possessive Adjectives

Masculine Singular FormMasculine Plural FormFeminine Singular FormFeminine Plural Form
first person singular (yo)
mi
 
mis
 
mi
 
mis
 
second person informal singular ()
tu
 
tus
 
tu
 
tus
 
second person formal singular (usted)
su
 
sus
 
su
 
sus
 
third person singular (él, ella)
su
 
sus
 
su
 
sus
 
first person plural (nosotros)
nuestro
 
nuestros
 
nuestra
 
nuestras
 
second person plural (vosotros)
vuestro
 
vuestros
 
vuestra
 
vuestras
 
second person plural (ustedes)
su
 
sus
 
su
 
sus
 
third person plural (ellos, ellas)
su
 
sus
 
su
 
sus
 
mi libro
my book
 
mis libros
my books
 
nuestro perro
our dog
 
nuestros perros
our dogs
 
nuestra casa
our house
 
nuestras casas
our houses
 

Short-form possessive adjectives are always placed before the noun they modify and are not used with a definite or indefinite article.

Mi amigo peruano es guapo.
My Peruvian friend is handsome.
 
¿Dónde están tus libros?
Where are your books?
 
¿Son sus niños?
Are they your children?
 
Nuestra casa es muy grande.
Our house is very big.
 
Vuestras flores son muy bonitas.
Your flowers are very beautiful.
 
Su carro está allá.
Their car is over there.
 

Tricky Cases

In Spanish, possessive adjectives are normally not used when talking about body parts. They're also often not used when talking about abstract concepts or something that it is obvious that only the speaker could possess. Instead, you'll see a definite article used in Spanish, though in English translations a possessive adjective may be used.

Body parts

Me duele el brazo.
My arm hurts.
 
Tienes los ojos verdes.
Your eyes are green.
 
Don Simón tenía algo en la mirada que hacía a la gente hacer las cosas.
Don Simon had something in his eyes that made people do things.
 
La muchacha había perdido la ilusión por los estudios.
The girl had lost her enthusiasm for her studies.
 
Me voy a la casa.
I’m leaving for (my) home.
 
Se me caen los pantalones.
My pants are falling down.
 

Possessive Prepositional Phrases

Since su can have different meanings (his, her, formal singular your, their, formal plural your), it is sometimes helpful to use a prepositional phrase with personal pronouns or names instead.

Possessive Prepositional Phrase Formula

definite/indefinite article + entity possessed + de + pronoun/name of possessor

For example, the sentence Atlanta es la capital de Georgia. (Atlanta is the capital of Georgia.) is more explicitly clear than Atlanta es su capital. (Whose capital? His? Hers? Yours? Theirs?)

Es la silla de él.
It's his seat.
 
La casa de Elena está allí.
Elena's house is there.
 
La pizzería de Alán está cerrada.
Alan's pizzeria is closed.
 

Long-form Possessive Adjectives

Long-form possessive adjectives are used to emphasize the owner of one noun, to contrast one owner with another, or to emphasize a personal relationship. They must match the noun they modify in both gender and number in all forms. They are used less often than short-form possessive adjectives.

List of Long-form Possessive Adjectives

Masculine Singular FormMasculine Plural FormFeminine Singular FormFeminine Plural Form
first person singular (yo)
mío
 
míos
 
mía
 
mías
 
second person informal singular ()
tuyo
 
tuyos
 
tuya
 
tuyas
 
second person formal singular (usted)
suyo
 
suyos
 
suya
 
suyas
 
third person singular (él, ella)
suyo
 
suyos
 
suya
 
suyas
 
first person plural (nosotros)
nuestro
 
nuestros
 
nuestra
 
nuestras
 
second person plural (vosotros)
vuestro
 
vuestros
 
vuestra
 
vuestras
 
second person plural (ustedes)
suyo
 
suyos
 
suya
 
suyas
 
third person plural (ellos, ellas)
suyo
 
suyos
 
suya
 
suyas
 

Long-form possessive adjectives are placed after the noun they modify. In the case of long-form possessive adjectives, you do use the definite or indefinite article in front of common nouns.

¡Dios mío!
My God!/My goodness!
 
¿Dónde están los zapatos tuyos?
Where are your shoes?
 
Esta es mi silla y aquella es la silla tuya.
This is my chair and that one is your chair.
 

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