French Possessive Adjectives


Possessive adjectives are words used in place of articles to indicate to whom or to what something belongs. French possessive adjectives are used in similar ways to English possessive adjectives. Like English, the French language has a special group of adjectives that indicate possession of the nouns that follow. Possession, as you probably already know, indicates who owns an object or who that object belongs to. In French grammar, there are three forms of the possessive for each singular person (I, you, he/she/it). The gender, number, and first letter of the noun possessed determine which form to use.

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A possessive adjective shows that a noun belongs to a specific person. In English, possessive adjectives translate to my, your, his/her, ours, yours, and theirs.

Unlike in English, the gender of the object being possessed is very important in French. The correct possessive adjective agrees in gender and number with the noun being possessed and not with the possessor.

Before a masculine singular nounBefore a feminine singular nounBefore a plural nounMeaning

Note: The gender of the object is not important only when that object begins with a vowel; in that case, the muscular singular possessive adjective is used.

            Mon appartement (masc.) → My apartment

            Mon histoire (fem.) → My story

The questions you should ask yourself before choosing a possessive adjective are:

  1. “What is being possessed?”
  2. “Is that person or thing a masculine, feminine, or plural word in French?”
  3. “If it’s feminine singular, does it come before a vowel?”

Other Examples:

Note the gender and number of each word that is possessed and how the possessive adjective changes. This concept is consistent in French grammar whether or not people are being talked about, as all objects have an assigned gender.

Mon frère = My brother          Ton père = Your father           Son oncle = His oncle

Ma soeur = My sister              Ta mère = Your mother          Sa tante = His aunt

Notre famille = Our family     Vos amis = Your friends        Leurs cousins = Their cousins

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