|Share / Tweet / Pin Me!|
French possessive adjectives are used in front of nouns to indicate to whom or to what those nouns belong. They’re more complicated than English possessive adjectives because there are different forms depending on gender and number.
|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
French has 15 different possessive adjectives
|your (tu form)||ton||ta||ton||tes|
|his, her, its||son||sa||son||ses|
|your (vous form)||votre||votre||votre||vos|
+ The singular adjectives have three forms each:
- Masculine singular: mon, ton, son
- Feminine singular: ma, ta, sa
- Plural: mes, tes, ses
|mon frère||my brother|
|ta sœur||your sister|
|ses amis||his friends|
|mon idée||my idea|
|son unique fille||his / her only daughter|
In French, the gender of the possessive adjective must agree with the gender of the noun possessed, not that of the possessor. Men and women both say mon travail (my job) and ma voiture (my car), because travail is masculine and voiture is feminine. This is particularly tricky for the third person singular, where English uses gender differently: we say "his car" and "her car," but in French, both of those must be translated by sa voiture. The gender of the owner is completely irrelevant, grammatically speaking.
|son fils||his or her son|
|sa fille||his or her daughter|
- à lui – "belonging to him"
- à elle – "belonging to her"
|son fils à lui||his son|
|son fils à elle||her son|
+ The plural possessive adjectives have only two forms:
- Singular: notre, votre, leur
- Plural: nos, vos, leurs
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|
|Je me brosse les dents.||I’m brushing my teeth.|
|Il s’est cassé le bras.||He broke his arm.|
- Introduction to nouns and gender
- Introduction to adjectives
- Ton vs votre
- More French possession
- PwLF super list of possession lessons