Possessive Pronouns and Adjectives in Italian

All About Pronomi and Aggettivi Possessivi

Possessive pronouns and adjectives are used in both English and Italian to indicate the ownership of a noun. Possessive pronouns express a relation between a noun and who possesses it, and are used alone, in the place of the noun. The six possessive pronouns in Italian all refer to a person/people. Possessive adjectives in Italian correspond to the English words "my," "your," "its," "his," "her," "their" and "our." Both possessive pronouns and adjectives and generally used in compound forms with the pronoun or adjective coming after a definite article that is not translated in English (ie: "il mio" = "my"). It is important to remember that both possessive pronouns and possessive adjectives must agree in both number and gender to the noun not with the possessor.

 

THE SIX POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS

Mio = mine

Tuo = yours

Suo = theirs 

Nostro = ours

Vostro = yours (polite) 

Loro = theirs (plural, third person)

Example: "La scarpa di Vanessa è molto grande, la mia è più piccola." = "Vanessa's shoe is very big, mine is smaller." You will notice that "la mia" replaces "la scarpa," denoting that the shoe belongs to me. 

 

 

It is important to remember that in Italian, unlike English, the gender of the possessive pronoun corresponds to the subject/noun not the possessor. For example, when saying "Today is your birthday" you would say "Oggi è il tuo compleanno." Compleanno is masculine singular so "il tuo" is used regardless of whether the person celebrating the birthday is male or female.

 

 

EXAMPLES OF POSSESSIVE ADJECTIVES

My = il mio, la mia, i miei, le mie (masculine singular, feminine singular, masculine plural, feminine plural)

Your (familiar) = il tuo, la tua, i tuoi, le tue

Your (polite) = il suo, la sua, i suoi, le sue

His, Her's, Its = il suo, la sua, i suoi (masculine plural), le sue (feminine plural)

Our = il nosto, la nostra, i nostri, le nostre

Your (familiar) = il vostro, la vostra, i vostri, le vostre

Your (polite) = il loro, la loro, i loro, le loro

Their = il loro, la loro, i loro, le loro

Example: "I miei cugini" = "My cousins" also  "La loro casa" = "Their house." Note that in the last example we use the third person feminine singular (la loro) based on the fact that the noun ("casa") is both feminine and singular (ie: we are only speaking of one house). The choice of adjective does not depend on whether the group that owns the house is male or female.

 

One exception to the rule of using an article before the adjective is when the noun is a specific family relative. For example, if you are trying to say "My sister is blonde" you would say, "Mia sorella è bionda" not "La mia sorella è bionda."

 

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS AND ADJECTIVES

Some examples to help clarify the difference between possessive pronouns and possessive adjectives:

 

La tua casa è sfarzosa, la mia è modesta = Your house is opulent, mine is modest. (pronoun = la mia)

La mia casa è modesta =  My house is modest. (adjective = la mia)

 

Tua sorella è bionda, la mia è mora = Your sister is blonde, mine is a brunette. (pronoun = la mia)

Mia sorella è alta = My sister is tall. (adjective = la mia)

 

Lei si cuce i suoi vestiti = She sews her own clothes (adjective = i suoi)

Lei vorrebbe una macchina tutta sua = She would like a car all her own (pronoun = sua)

So, adjectives are possessive when they are paired with a noun (ie: la MIA casa; la TUA bicicletta, il MIO gatto, la VOSTRA penna = my house, your bike, my cat, your pen), while pronouns are possessive, even when the noun does not appear, because the pronoun can substitute it (ie: La macchina di Paola è blu, la mia invece è bianca = Paola's car is blue, mine is white.) Also, in Italian we place ALWAYS the article before the pronoun.

 

EXERCISE

Complete the sentences by inserting the correct pronoun or adjective:

1)       Per favore, mi passi il ....... libro?

2)       Francesca, il ....... libro di matematica è più completo del ........

3)       La ....... mamma è più severa della ........

4)       Per  le esigenze dei figli i genitori trascurano le ......

5)       Tu fai tanto volentieri gli interessi altrui, ma non i ......

6)       I beni altrui non sono i ......

7)       Il nostro compito era facile, il ....... difficile.

8)       La ...... città natale è più famosa della......

9)       Vediamo piuttosto i difetti ...... anzichè i nostri

10)     La ...... vita è piena di fatiche come la ......

 

Answers:

tuo, mio-tuo, tua-mia, loro, tuoi, nostri, tuo, tua-mia, altrui, tua-mia.

 

 

By Elisa Bressan

Channel: 
0
No votes yet

Comments

Tuesday, May 08TH, 2012 by Guest

Thanks, but how do I say for example; Mark's jumper

Wednesday, May 09TH, 2012 by Guest

Not sure what Kind of jumper you're referring to, but I'm going to guess sweater. You would use the preposition "di". Per esempio, "maglione di Mark."