Possessive Adjectives: Plural Possessions

Ma musique, notre café - French possessive adjectives
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Adjectifs possessifs pour possessions plurielles

When dealing with plural possessions, there’s only one French possessive adjective for each grammatical person:

my   mes
your (tu form)   tes
his, her, its   ses
our   nos
your (vous form)   vos
their   leurs

Par exemple…

Où sont mes frères ?   Where are my brothers?
Nous écoutons tes chansons.   We’re listening to your songs.
Il a perdu ses clés.   He lost his keys.
Ce sont nos livres.   These are our books.
Je vois vos voitures.   I see your cars.
Il veut leurs idées.   He wants their ideas.

The tricky part

You have to be careful when deciding whether a plural owner’s possession is singular or plural.

For example, my husband and I live in the same house. Though there are two of us, we have one house that we share, so we say notre maison. Likewise, since we share a car, we say notre voiture.

Nous avons acheté notre maison en 2015.   We bought our (shared) house in 2015.
David et Anna, votre voiture elle belle !   David and Anna, your car is beautiful!

There are two types of scenarios in which the possession is considered plural:

  1. We each have our own house and our own car (we’re divorced).
  2. Collectively, we have multiple houses and multiple cars (we’re rich).
Nous avons vendu nos maisons en 2017.   We sold our houses in 2017.
Où sont vos voitures ?   Where are your cars?

 The really tricky part

With the third person plural, using the plural adjective automatically means that each person has more than one of the item.

Ils aiment bien leurs profs.   They really like their teachers. (they have several)
Elles ont fait leurs lits.   They made their beds. (they each have two)

When the item is not shared, it’s more idiomatic to use the singular possessive, even though this is ambiguous.

Ils aiment bien leur prof.   They really like their teacher. (they share a teacher)   or
They really like their teachers. (they have different teachers)
Elles ont fait leur lit.   They made their bed. (the two girls share a bed)   or
They made their beds. (each girl made her own bed)

More French possessive adjectives

 Possessive Adjective Quizzes

Quizzes on possessive adjectives vs possessive pronouns

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Mon, ma, mes, notre, nos French possessive adjectives

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