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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.
|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
- Used in place of an article, not with one
- Placed directly in front of a noun or an adjective + noun
- Must agree with the possessed noun in number and sometimes gender
- 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
- Singular possessors (my | your | his/her/its)
(mon, ma, mes | ton, ta, tes | son, sa, ses)
- Plural possessors (our | your | their)
(notre, nos | votre, vos | leur, leurs)
Focus on possession
- Singular possessions (one item owned)
(mon, ma | ton, ta | son, sa | notre | votre | leur)
- Plural possessions (two or more items owned)
(mes | tes | ses | nos | vos | leurs)
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.
|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.
|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
- Introduction to nouns and gender
- Introduction to adjectives
- Ton vs votre
- More French possession
- PwLF super list of possession lessons
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