Possessive adjectives are fundamental in order to correctly speaking Italian! This video-lesson analyses in detail how to use and how to form possessive adjectives, don’t miss it!
Possessive Adjectives in Italian
Possessive adjectives determine BELONGING, that is to whom the thing, the person or the animal expressed by the noun belong.
Possessive adjectives agree in gender and number with the noun of the thing or people that is possessed.
SINGULAR POSSESSIVE ADJECTIVES are:
|1st person singular||Mio||Mia|
|2nd person singular||Tuo||Tua|
|3rd person singular||Suo||Sua|
|1st person plural||Nostro||Nostra|
|2nd person plural||Vostro||Vostra|
|3rd person plural||Loro||Loro|
La mia macchina è rossa → My car is red (“mia” → feminine singular, which agrees with “macchina”, that is feminine singular + it tells us who the car belongs to: to me!)
Il nostro cane si chiama Ron → Our dog’s name is Ron (“nostro” → masculine singular, which agrees with “cane”, that is masculine singular + it tells us who the dog belongs to: to us!)
La loro vita è meravigliosa! → Their life is wonderful! (“loro” → it is invariable + it tells us who the life belongs to: to them!)
Review masculine and feminine!
Possessive adjectives are therefore always preceded by a definite article!!
The only exception to this rule are the possessive adjectives that accompany singular nouns of family members: in this case, in fact, they are not preceded by a definite article. With nouns of family members, instead, the article is needed.
la Mia madre si chiama Sofia. (My mother’s name is Sofia) → singular noun of family member → NO article il Tuo fratello ha 13 anni. (Your brother is 13 years old) → singular noun of family member → NO article
Il loro zio fa l’architetto. (Their uncle is an architect) → “loro“, however, DOES NOT FOLLOW THE RULE! → YES article
PLURAL POSSESSIVE ADJECTIVES are:
|1st person singular||Miei||Mie|
|2nd person singular||Tuoi||Tue|
|3rd person singular||Suoi||Sue|
|1st person plural||Nostri||Nostre|
|2nd person plural||Vostri||Vostre|
|3rd person plural||Loro||Loro|
Le tue scarpe sono alte → Your shoes are high (“tue” → feminine plural, which agrees with “scarpe”, that is feminine plural + it tells us who the shoes belong to: to you!).
I vostri libri hanno la copertina rovinata → Your books have a damaged cover (“vostri” → masculine plural, which agrees with “libri”, that is masculine plural + it tells us who the books belong to: to you all!).
Le loro fidanzate sono molto belle → Their girlfriends are very beautiful (“loro” → it is invariable + it tells us who the girlfriends belong to: to them!).
I suoi cugini sono inglesi → His cousins are English → plural noun of family member → YES article
Therefore, even the plural possessive adjectives are always preceded by a definite article, with no exception!!
Still doubts about the articles?
There are other 2 possessive adjectives:
- proprio/a/i/e → it can be used instead of the possessive adjective of 3rd person singular or plural BUT only if the subject possesses!!
Ogni persona porta il proprio zaino. (Everyone brings his or her own backpack) → In this sentence it is possible to use “proprio” instead of “suo” because it is the subject of the sentence (ogni persona) that possesses.
Ho chiesto a Maria di portare il suo (
proprio) zaino. → Here we cannot use “proprio” because the subject of the sentence is “I” but the person who possesses is Maria!
- altrui → it takes the meaning of “of someone else” and it is usually used to indicate an indefinite person (only people!) who possesses.
Non si deve giudicare la vita altrui. (One should not judge other people’s lives = One should not judge the lives of someone else) → we don’t know who we are talking about but we do know they are people. Since it can be replaced by the preposition “di” + a noun, “altrui” generally follows the noun (as the preposition would do!).
Don’t miss our lesson about indefinite articles!
Let’s see if you’ve mastered the contents of this class. Have a go at completing the exercises!
If you still have doubt about possessive adjectives (or any other thing), leave us a comment: we’ll answer as soon as possible!