Gramática: Los posesivos


  • Recognize possession indicated by possessive adjectives

Posesión con ser + de

There are two ways to indicate possession in Spanish.  As you may recall, one way is to use the verb ser in the following pattern:  object(s) + ser de + person who has the object(s)

  • Play AudioEl libro es de María. (The book is María’s.)several books, one open
  • Play AudioEl libro de María explica la gramática. (María’s book explains grammar.)
  • Play AudioLas mochilas son de los muchachos. (The bookbags are the boys’.)
  • Play AudioLa casa es del Sr. Rodríguez. (The house is Mr. Rodríguez’s.)

Note that the apostrophe+s construction used in English does not exist in Spanish!

Los adjetivos posesivos

A more common way to express possession, especially when it is clear to whom something belongs, is to use possessive adjectives:

singular possessor plural possessor
Play Audiomi (my) Play Audionuestro (our)
Play Audiotu (your) Play Audiovuestro (your)
Play Audiosu (his, her, your) Play Audiosu (their, your)
Remember that in Spanish, and usted both mean “you”. Therefore, the possessive adjective for “your” needs to follow the correct register: Tú – tu/tus; Usted – su/sus.

Atención a la acentuación (Pay attention to accent marks): 

, with the accent mark, is the subject pronoun referring to the person “you”. Tu, without the accent mark, is the possessive adjective “your”. For example: tienes tu libro. (You have your book.)

The chart above, however, only shows the basic form.  Possessive adjectives in Spanish—like all adjectives!—must agree in number with the noun that they modify.  In the case of nosotros and vosotros, they also must agree in gender with what is owned:

  • Play Audiomi libro (my book) 
  • Play Audiomis libros (my books)
  • Play Audiomi familia (my family)
  • Play Audiomis familias (my families)
  • Play Audionuestro libro (our book)
  • Play Audionuestros libros (our books)
  • Play Audionuestra familia (our family)
  • Play Audionuestras familias (our families)
  • Play Audiotu libro (your book)
  • Play Audiotus libros (your books
  • Play Audiotu casa (your house)
  • Play Audiotus casas (your houses)
  • Play Audiovuestro libro (your book)
  • Play Audiovuestros libros (your books)
  • Play Audiovuestra casa (your house)
  • Play Audiovuestras casas (your houses)
  • Play Audiosu libro (his book, her book, or your book)
  • Play Audiosus libros (his books, her books, or your books)
  • Play Audiosu casa (his house, her house, or your house)
  • Play Audiosus casa(his houses, her houses, or your houses)
  • Play Audiosu libro (their book or your book)
  • Play Audiosus libros (their bookor your books)
  • Play Audiosu casa (their house or your house)
  • Play Audiosus casa(their houses or your houses)
Remember: The adjective will be singular or plural (and feminine or masculine for nosotros and vosotros) based on the object(s) owned, not the person who owns the object.  Choose which possessive to use based on the owner, but the ending you give to the possessive does not have anything to do with the number of people who have the object or the gender of the owner.
Note that since the 3rd person possessive adjectives could cause some confusion, the use of ser+de is common in these instances for clarification.  Context clues can also be used to clarify to whom an object belongs.