suyo y su ?

suyo y su ?


How do you know when to use suyo vs su?

updated AGO 16, 2009
posted by Thomas-Couch

4 Answers


su is a possessive adjective and suya is a possessive pronoun.When you use suya it would probably be preceded by the words "de," or "de la." When using su, I believe that it would usually precede the noun that it modifies

It's a good thing Heidita isn't around or you'd be in the dunce corner for sure. grin

su is the short form possessive adjective and suya is the long form possessive adjective.

el suyo, la suya are the possessive pronouns. ( los suyos y las suyas)

You were on the right track, however.

The short form possessive adjective goes in front of the noun and the long form possessive adjective goes after the noun.

mi libro

el libro mío

los pantalones son los suyos.

To get back to the original question: When do you use the short form possessive adjective and when do you use the long form? - I don't know. Both are grammatically correct, but I'm sure than common usage has created situations where one would be used over the other. Like always, wait for a native.

updated AGO 15, 2009
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507
Hey! mi libro is not su libro! nor is el libro mio, el libro suyo (can you even say that?? hmmm...why not!) - Janice, AGO 15, 2009
Yes, I agree. Most of my preliminary answers usually would earn me a visit to the dunce corner as I am so scatter-brained that I usually revise my answers several times before I am done - Izanoni1, AGO 15, 2009

The word "suyo" can be an adjective or a pronoun, but it the adjective is apocopated (ie. shortened) to "su" when it precedes a noun.

The following words used as adjectives are shortened when they precede a noun:

  • alguno - algún
  • ninguno - ningún
  • cualquiera - cualquier
  • bueno - buen
  • grande - gran
  • malo - mal
  • mío - mi
  • tuyo - tu
  • suyo -su
  • uno - un
  • primero - primer
  • tercero - tercer
  • veintiuno - veintiún
  • ciento - cien
  • santo - san
updated AGO 16, 2009
edited by lazarus1907
posted by lazarus1907

Commenting on Quentin's entry gave me impetus to look up these two words in my Gran Diccionario Oxford. Here is what I found for suyo, -ya:

suyo -ya adjectivo (de él) his, (de ella) hers (de usted, ustedes) yours (de ellos, ellas) theirs.

Marta y un amigo suyo

Ser muy suyo: Eso es muy suyo. That's typical of him/her.

Es muy suya. She's an odd sort (colloquial).

And then I found the "pronombre" following that definition.

suyo -ya pronombre

el suyo, la suya etc. (de él) his, (de ella) hers; (de usted, ustedes) yours; (de ellos, ellas) theirs;

Él me prestó el suyo. He lent me his;

Hacer (una) de las suyas (familiar) - to get up to one's usual tricks.

ir a lo suyo - to look after number one;

[Examples for] lo suyo:

Tuvo que trabajar lo suyo. He had to work very hard;

Pesa lo suyo. It weighs a ton;

Salirse con la suya. To get one's own way.

updated AGO 15, 2009
edited by Janice
posted by Janice
Try looking in the Compendio de gramática española. The relevant topics are available to view online if you google search it. - Izanoni1, AGO 15, 2009

su is a possessive ADJECTIVE and suya is a possessive PRONOUN.

When you use suya it should be able to stand alone such as in:

        -los pantalones son suyos.

        -the pants are yours.

However, suya can be used as a possessive adjective as well, and in this case it would come after the noun that it modifies:

      -Son los pantalones suyos.        

      -They are your pants.

When using su, I believe that it would usually precede the noun that it modifies such as:

     -Son sus pantalones

    -They are your pants

You might want to remember that when using su, it must agree in number with the noun it modifies; whereas, suya must agree in both number and gender with the thing/things possessed.

el suyo, la suya are the possessive pronouns. ( los suyos y las suyas)

As I´m sure you are aware, as in the example I have given above, the possessive pronoun does not require the use of the definite article (i.e. you would not say los pantalones son los suyos).

As a personal pronoun suya could also be preceded by the word "de" such as with:

      -Son los pantalones de suyos.
updated AGO 15, 2009
edited by Izanoni1
posted by Izanoni1
..but all examples I found in the dictionary include the definite article?? Shouldn't my dictionary have shown me one or two such as your "los pantalones" example ? ..the ones that are "de suyos"? or that are (son) just "suyos"- (no los)? - Janice, AGO 15, 2009
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