Possessive Adjectives

Ma musique, notre café - French possessive adjectives
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Adjectifs possessifs

French possessive adjectives are used in front of nouns to indicate to whom or to what those nouns belong. They are considerably more complicated than English possessive adjectives because French has several different forms depending on the gender and number of the possessed noun.

Par exemple…

Nous écoutons ma musique. We’re listening to my music.
Où est mon frère ? Where is my brother?
J’ai perdu mes clés. I lost my keys.

Characteristics of French possessive adjectives

  1. Used in place of an article, not with one
  2. Placed directly in front of a noun or an adjective + noun
  3. Must agree with the possessed noun in number and sometimes gender
  4. Possessive adjective + noun can be replaced by a possessive pronoun

There are a total of 15 different French possessive adjectives depending on the combination of possessor and the possession, which can be overwhelming. Here, they are divided up in different ways so that you can study them in whichever way makes more sense to you.

Focus on possessor

For beginners:

Focus on possession

More advanced:

  French vs English

French and English possessive adjectives are used pretty much in the same way, with just a few key differences.

1) In a list of nouns, the French possessive adjective must be used in front of each one.

Par exemple…

mon fils, ma fille et mes petits-enfants   my son, daughter, and grandchildren
notre maison et nos voitures   our house and cars

 Note that notre maison is singular because there is only one house that we share, while nos voitures is plural because we each have a car. For more detail, see singular possessions.

2) When body parts are involved, French tends to avoid the possessive adjective and instead specify the possessor with pronominal verbs.

Par exemple…

Je me brosse les dents.   I’m brushing my teeth.
Il s’est cassé le bras.   He broke his arm.

 Possessive Adjective Quizzes

Quizzes on possessive adjectives vs possessive pronouns

Note: You must be logged into your Progress with Lawless French account to take these tests. If you don’t have one, sign up – it’s free!

 Related lessons

Learn Spanish En español

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

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