Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns show ownership.

Contrary to popular opinion, they are not controlled by demons. Those are possessed pronouns—and they are freaky.

 

Examples

"The would-be thief left his severed finger at the crime scene."

Here, his indicates that the finger belongs to the thief. Gross.

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Think about how this sentence would look without the pronoun: The would-be thief left the would-be thief's severed finger at the crime scene. Now that's a horror scene.

Note: It's a hotly contested subject whether "his" in sentences like these are adjectives or pronouns. Some people say that since "his" comes before a noun and somewhat modifies "severed finger," it's an adjective. Others say that it's a noun marked with the genitive case, which is just a fancy way of saying possessiveness.

Well, as fun as grammar debates may be, we're not going to go there. So we're just going to call it a pronoun (but maybe an adjective).

"Becky screamed, That last piece of birthday cake is mine, suckers!"

In this case, mine shows that the ownership of the cake has been claimed by Becky. Everyone else is out of luck.

" Chris, I think your poodle stole my car keys."

Your shows that the poodle belongs to Chris. My indicates that the missing car keys belong to the speaker who's really wishing that the Geico Gecko offered poodle insurance right about now.

 

Common mistakes

Fans of The Bachelor, get ready.

The gents in the spotlight just love to refer to their relationships with each individual lady. Unfortunately, these gents aren't quite up on their grammar and they end up with things like…
- She and I's relationship
- Her and I's relationship
- She and my's relationship
- Her and my's relationship
- These. Are. All. Wrong.

The correct construction? Her and my relationship. Or, you know, our relationship, if you wanted to make your life easier.

Don't believe us? Just remove one or the other pronoun:

Her relationship and my relationship both sound good, right? Not so much with she relationship, I's relationship, or my's relationship.

The grammar geeks out there will probably throw in an objection here. When you have two names that share one thing, like a relationship, you only need to make the second one possessive: Sean and Catherine's relationship not Sean's and Catherine's relationship.

True.

But unfortunately for possessive pronouns, the same rule doesn't apply. Unless, apparently, you're on The Bachelor.