Spanish Possessive Adjectives: Everything You Need to Know about Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

You are the new employee at a company, and a friendly co-worker is showing you around the office.

As she explains whose workspace are whose, she uses several Spanish possessive adjectives:

“Este es tu escritorio. La sala de reuniones tiene su proyector y sus sillas. Puedes usar su microondas en la cocina. Esa es la oficina de nuestro jefe, con su propio baño. Mis compañeros y yo tenemos nuestros escritorios unidos.” [This is your desk. The meeting room has its projector and chairs. You can use its microwave in the kitchen. That’s our boss’s office, with his own bathroom. My colleagues and I have our desks combined.]

You’re at awe of all the use of Spanish possessive adjectives. You want to learn them, too! Lucky for you Spring Spanish (a project I co-founded) has a great video explaining (almost) everything about the topic, and after that, you can read our in-depth blog post about possessive adjectives in Spanish:

1. What are Spanish Possessive Adjectives?

You most certainly know that adjectives are descriptive words that modify nouns.

Effortless Answers

Possessive adjectives are a type of adjective that indicates possession or ownership of the noun they modify. In Spanish, possessive adjectives have different singular and plural forms, and they must agree with the gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural) of the noun.

In the phrase “mi libro” (my book), the possessive adjective “mi” shows that the book belongs to me. The adjective “mi” is singular and matches the masculine, singular noun “libro.”

Possessive adjectives are placed before the noun they modify, just like other adjectives in Spanish:

  • Mi carro es azul. [My car is blue.]
  • Tus hermanas son altas. [Your sisters are tall.]

Let’s look at all the different types of possessive adjectives in Spanish!

2. Different Types of Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

There are two main categories of possessive adjectives in Spanish: short form (unstressed) and long form (stressed). The short forms are more common in conversations.

Short Form Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

The short form, or unstressed, possessive adjectives are used in most situations when talking about possession.

In singular:

PersonSingular Possessive Adjective
mymi
yourtu
yoursu
his/her/itssu

In plural:

PersonPlural Possessive Adjective
mynuestro (masculine), nuestra (feminine)
yourvuestro (masculine), vuestra (feminine)
yoursus
his/her/theirsus

Please also note that ‘vuestro/vuestra‘ is only used in Spain, not Latin America, and ‘su‘ and ‘sus‘ are used for usted/ustedes as well as él/ella/ellos/ellas.

Let’s see some examples using the short form possessive adjectives:

  • Esta es mi casa. [This is my house.]
  • Tus libros están en la mesa. [Your books are on the table.]
  • Nuestros hijos juegan en el parque. [Our children play in the park.]
  • ¿Dónde están sus llaves? [Where are his/her/their keys?]

Long Form Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

The long form, or stressed, possessive adjectives are less common. They are used for emphasis or contrast, or when the noun is omitted.

Here is a table of the long form singular possessive adjectives:

PersonSingular Long Form
minemío (masculine), mía (feminine)
yourstuyo (masculine), tuya (feminine)
yourssuyo (masculine), suya (feminine)
his/hers/itssuyo (masculine), suya (feminine)

In plural:

PersonPlural Long Form
minemíos (masculine), mías (feminine)
yourstuyos (masculine), tuyas (feminine)
yourssuyos (masculine), suyas (feminine)
his/hers/theirssuyos (masculine), suyas (feminine)

These long forms must agree with both the gender and number of the implied noun. For example:

  • Este libro es mío. [This book is mine.] – “mío” matches the masculine singular “libro
  • Esas novelas son tuyas. [Those novels are yours.] – “tuyas” matches the feminine plural “novelas

3. When to Use Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

You need to use a possessive adjective in Spanish anytime you want to express that something belongs to someone or something.

red car on the road illustrating spanish possessive adjectives

This is true when talking about physical objects, relationships and body parts, too.

Some very common situations where possessive adjectives are used:

SituationSpanish ExampleEnglish Translation
Describing ownership of objectsMi carro es rojo.My car is red.
Talking about family membersNuestros padres viven en México.Our parents live in Mexico.
Referring to body partsMe duele mi cabeza.My head hurts me.
Expressing relationshipsJuan es su novio.Juan is her boyfriend.
Indicating possession with gerundsEstoy cansado de hacer tu trabajo.I’m tired of doing your work.

Easily explained, if the relationship between two objects or people needs to be explicitly stated, you’ll use a possessive adjective.

4. Possessive Pronouns vs Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

To take your skills to the next level, you need to understand the difference between possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns in Spanish grammar.

While related, they are used for different purposes. On Effortless Conversations, we have a dedicated article for possessive pronouns, so make sure to check that one out!

Possessive adjectives, as we’ve covered, modify nouns to indicate possession:

  • Mi libro es interesante. [My book is interesting.]
  • Tus ideas son creativas. [Your ideas are creative.]

Possessive pronouns, on the other hand, replace the noun entirely when the possession is already understood from context:

  • Este libro no es mío, es el tuyo. [This book is not mine, it’s yours.]
  • Esa chaqueta negra es la suya. [That black jacket is hers.]

So while possessive adjectives come before nouns, possessive pronouns substitute for the noun itself.

Possessive pronouns require the definite article (el, la, los, las) before them, while possessive adjectives directly modify the noun without an article.

5. Practice worksheet for Spanish possessive adjectives

Fill in the blanks with the appropriate Spanish possessive adjective:

If you want to learn more, here’s your chance: just click this green button, and you’ll be well on your way to practice other Spanish grammar topics with our Full Practice Worksheet Library!

6. Learn more Spanish with Conversation Based Chunking

Some final tips: Use possessive adjectives frequently, just like in English. Don’t confuse them with possessive pronouns, which replace the noun entirely. And pay special attention to the different plural forms based on gender.

The best way to truly learn possessive adjectives is through Conversation Based Chunking – listening to them in context through real conversational examples and using the in real-life conversations, too.

Chunking allows you to pick up the natural flow of how possessive adjectives are used by native speakers. If you click the button below, you’ll learn more about the method that will change your language learning journey.

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