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Published on: Grammar

How to Use Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

Hola, amigos! So, you’re ready to take your Spanish language skills up a notch, eh? Well, you’ve come to the right place. 

Not only will we dive deep into the world of possessive adjectives in spanish today, but we will also discuss reflexive pronouns in Spanish

These two grammar aspects of the language, trust me, are your best buddies when you’re out there, speaking Spanish in the real world. 

The beauty of adjectives and pronouns in Spanish, especially the possessive ones and reflexives, is how they fit snugly with the personal pronouns.  

By the time we’re done, you’ll be weaving sentences like a true maestro, showing who owns what and reflecting action back on the subject left, right, and center. Isn’t it interesting how these Spanish facts come together? 

I know you may be wondering how long it takes to learn Spanish. Well, it really depends on how much time you can devote each day to learning and how immersive your practice environment is. 

But mastering elements like short form possessive adjectives, long form possessive adjectives, and reflexive pronouns in Spanish is a great stride towards fluency. 

Are you ready to become an expert in Spanish possessive adjectives and reflexive pronouns? 

Let’s get started, shall we?

What is a Possessive Adjective in Spanish?

Possessive adjectives in Spanish are these nifty little words that help you show who owns or has something. 

They’re a bit like the bouncers of the language – they ensure everything matches. 

The noun they’re guarding? It has to agree in gender and number with our possessive adjectives in Spanish. 

And just like a bouncer, these adjectives like to stand in front of the noun. They’re saying, “Hey! This thing? It belongs to someone.”

What are the 12 possessive adjectives in Spanish?

Here comes the fun part. There are 12 of these cool cats in Spanish. They’re split into two gangs:  

  • The unstressed (also known as short form) possessive adjectives in Spanish are mi, tu, su, nuestro/a, vuestro/a and su. 
  • The stressed (also known as long form) possessive adjectives are mío/a, tuyo/a, suyo/a, nuestro/a, vuestro/a and suyo/a. 

Short form Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

The short form possessive adjective (also known as unstressed possessive adjective) are our eager beavers. They’re always the first in line, right before the noun, and they agree in gender and number with the noun they modify. 

The short-form possessive adjectives are:

Spanish English
Mi My
Tu Your
Su his/her/your


Just picture them like this: Mi casa (my house), tu perro (your dog), su libro (his/her/your book). Simple, right?

Long-form Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

The long-form possessive adjectives (also known as stressed possessive adjectives) are a little more laid back, hanging out after the noun. They’re here for emphasis or contrast. 

And just like the short form, the possessive adjectives in Spanish match the noun they modify in gender and number. 

The members of this squad of long-form possessive adjectives / stressed possessive adjectives are:

Spanish English
Mío/mía Mine
Tuyo/tuya Yours
Suyo/suya His/hers/yours
Nuestro/nuestra Ours
Vuestro/vuestra Yours
Suyo/suya Theirs/yours


Picture it this way: El coche es mío (the car is mine), la casa es tuya (the house is yours), el libro es nuestro (the book is ours). A bit different, but just as easy, right?

Image by Freepik via Freepik

What’s the difference between Spanish possessive adjectives and Spanish possessive pronouns?

When we dive into the Spanish language, we often come across two interesting grammatical elements: possessive adjectives and pronouns. 

These two may seem quite similar, but don’t be fooled – they have unique roles to play when we talk about ownership or possession.

Possessive adjectives

They’re like the loyal sidekicks of nouns, always accompanying them. Possessive adjectives in Spanish come before the noun they are modifying, almost like they’re introducing it to the conversation. 

They agree in gender and number with the noun they modify, taking on both (feminine and masculine forms) and plural forms when necessary (check out the quick note below!). They’re essentially your go-to when you need to describe ownership.

So, for example, we would use possessive adjectives in Spanish in a phrase like “Mi casa” (My house), where ‘mi’ is the possessive adjective. 

Other examples are “Tus zapatos” (Your shoes) and “Su libro” (His/Her/Your book), where ‘tus’ and ‘su’ are the possessive adjectives that describe to whom the shoes and the book belong.

Possessive pronouns

These hardworking words replace the noun they refer to altogether. Like a possessive adjective, they also agree in gender and number with the noun they replace. 

But unlike an unstressed possessive adjectives in Spanish, a stressed possessive adjective (which is essentially what a possessive pronoun is) typically comes after the noun it modifies and does not accompany the noun.

Let’s look at some examples. In the phrase “El libro es mío” (The book is mine), ‘mío’ is a possessive pronoun replacing the word “book”. 

Similarly, in “Los zapatos son tuyos” (The shoes are yours) and “El perro es suyo” (The dog is his/hers/yours), ‘tuyos’ and ‘suyo’ are possessive pronouns that replace and describe the shoes and the dog, respectively.

In a nutshell, both possessive adjectives and pronouns serve to describe ownership in Spanish. They just do it a bit differently! 

Whether you’re using possessive adjectives or pronouns, you’re providing critical information that helps your listener or reader understand exactly what you mean.


Note: The feminine and masculine forms of the possessive pronoun in Spanish vary based on their position as the subject or object in a sentence. For instance, the pronoun “mine” that replaces a noun can be translated into “mío” (masculine form) or “mía” (feminine form), contingent on the gender of the noun it replaces.

In summary, possessive adjectives modify a noun and come before it, while possessive pronouns replace a noun and come after it. Both indicate ownership or possession and must agree in gender and number with the noun they modify or replace.

When Do You NOT Use Possessive Adjectives?

You’ve got the hang of Spanish possessive adjectives, both in their short and long forms. That’s fantastic! But hang on, because here’s a curveball: there are times when, despite everything you’ve learned, you won’t use possessive adjectives. 

Shocking, isn’t it? Let’s explore these peculiarities of the target language together.

With body parts 

In English, you’d say “my hand,” but in Spanish, the definite article “la” is preferred over the possessive adjective. So, instead of “mi mano,” you would simply say “la mano”. Why? That’s just one of those quirks of language!

With family members 

Here’s where it gets tricky – we do use possessive pronouns like “mi,” “tu,” “su,” but remember these are technically short form possessive adjectives. So, you’d say “mi madre” (my mother) instead of using a long form possessive adjective like “mía”.

With general possessions 

In English, you’d say, “That’s my car.” The Spanish equivalent would be “Ese es mi coche,” right? Actually, it’s common to just say “el coche”. Yes, the definite article wins again!

With professions 

Instead of using possessive adjectives, we opt for the definite article. So, instead of “mi médico” for “my doctor,” you would say “el médico”. No need to possess your doctor, apparently!

In summary, while possessive adjectives in spanish, whether short form or long form, are powerful tools in describing possession in Spanish, there are situations where the pronoun replaces the possessive adjective or the definite article is used instead. 

Remember, language is as much about culture as it is about rules, and Spanish is no different! So, dive in, keep practicing, and let the words flow.

Now You Have Mastered Possessive Adjectives!

Image by Brooke Cagle via Unsplash

Embark on your Spanish learning journey  today! Start with mastering possessive adjectives in Spanish, both the short form and their stressed counterparts, which play a pivotal role in demonstrating ownership. 

Sign up today for a free 1:1 class or enjoy free group classes for an entire week. Our Student Success Advisors are always available to guide you.

Remember, these Spanish adjectives, whether unstressed possessive adjectives or their stressed equivalents, change according to the noun’s singularity or plurality. They not only detail the noun but also enrich your sentences, lending them a fluent feel, vital for your conversational skills.

As you dive deeper into the language, you’ll find possessive adjectives in Spanish aren’t merely tools, but a ticket to sound like a native speaker. The more you use them, the more confident you’ll become. Eventually, you’ll be using Spanish adjectives like a pro.

So don’t hold back. Sign up now and let’s master these possessive adjectives in Spanish together. Practice is key, and with dedication, you’ll grasp them in no time. 

Happy learning, ¡mi amigo!

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