French Possessive Pronouns


French possessive pronouns are used in place of nouns to indicate to whom or to what those nouns belong. In French, possessive pronouns vary in form depending on the gender and number of the noun they replace. The gender and number of the possessive pronoun must agree with the gender and number of the noun possessed, not that of the possessor.

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A possessive pronoun dictates the possession of a noun without that noun being explicitly expressed in the sentence. In French, possessive pronouns translate to mine, yours, his/hers/its, ours, yours, or theirs. Take a Look at the following examples in English.

Yes, these keys are mine.

Stop looking for your wallet – I have yours!

That coat over there is hers.

Like nearly all other French grammar concepts, there are multiple variations of these possessive pronouns based on the gender and number of what is being possessed. In the sentences above, the spelling/form of mine, yours, and hers would depend on the items keys, wallet, and coat respectively. The following table lays out the possible forms of possessive pronouns.

 Masculine SingularFeminine SingularMasculine PluralFeminine Plural
minele mienla mienneles miensles miennes
yours (tu)le tienla tienneles tiensles tiennes
his/hers/itsle sienla sienneles siensles siennes
oursle nôtrela nôtreles nôtresles nôtres
yours (vous)le vôtrela vôtreles vôtresles vôtres
theirsle leurla leurles leursles leurs


Mon frère a mon portable (m), donc je crie, “ce n’est pas le tien !” 

My brother has my phone, so I shout, “That is not yours !”

In this example, yours refers to “phone.” Phone, or mon portable is a masculine singular noun, making le tien (ou le votre depending on who is getting talked to in the sentence) is a correct answer.

Le jardin (m) que vous voyez devant la maison est le nôtre.

The garden that you see in front of the house is ours.

In this example, oursrefers to “garden.” Garden, or le jardin is a masculine singular noun, making le nôtre a correct possessive adjective that could be used in the sentence.        

Ne touchez pas les valises, elles sont les leurs.

Don’t touch the suitcases, they are theirs.

In this example, theirs  refers to “suitcases.” Suitcases, or les valises  is a feminine plural noun, making les leurs  a correct possessive adjective that could be used in the sentence.

Notice how the definite article (le. la, les) of each change depending on the gender of the noun being replaced. Also notice how the possessive adjective for “ours,” “yours,” and “theirs” does not change between the mascuine and feminine singular forms like the others – only the definite article changes.

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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.

General Explanation:
Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
Specific Capabilities at this Level
I can write a short, simple postcard, for example sending holiday greetings. I can fill in forms with personal details, for example entering my name, nationality and address on a hotel registration form.
Spoken Production:
I can use simple phrases and sentences to describe where I live and people I know.
Spoken Interaction:
I can interact in a simple way provided the other person is prepared to repeat or rephrase things at a slower rate of speech and help me formulate what I’m trying to say. I can ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics.
I can understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences, for example on notices and posters or in catalogues.
I can recognize familiar words and very basic phrases concerning myself, my family and immediate concrete surroundings when people speak slowly and clearly.