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Possessive Pronouns / Pronomes Possessivos

Possessive pronouns are used to show ownership. They indicate who the owner of a certain thing is. Those Pronouns can accompany, describe or replace a noun.

Example:

  • Meu carro novo My car is new (observe that meu accompanies and describes the noun carro)

 In Portuguese the possessive pronouns have feminine, masculine, singular and plural forms. Usually those pronouns agree in gender and number with the thing possessed, not with the person that possesses. But there is an important exception for the possessive pronouns dele / deles / dela / delas. They agree in gender and number with the person.

Possessive pronouns can be used alone, without the noun theyre referring to. In this case, they are accompanied by definite articles (except with verb ser).

Example: 

  • Meu carro novo. O seu velho My car is new. Yours is old. (In the first sentence meu accompanies and describe the object carro. In the second sentence observe that seu is masculine, replaces the word carro and it is used along with the definite article o)

Study the possessive pronouns in the chart below. 

English

Masculine

Feminine

My / mine

Meu     / Meus  

Minha   / Minhas  

Your / yours

Seu      /  Seus  

Sua     / Suas  

His / Her/ hers / its

Dele  

Dela  

Our / ours

Nosso    / Nossos  

Nossa     / Nossas  

Their / theirs

Deles  

Delas  

Examples: Observe that in all examples below the possessive pronouns agree with the thing possessed and are used before the noun.

         Meu pai My father

         Seu pai Your father

         Nosso pai Our father

 

         Minha me My mother

         Sua me Your mother

         Nossa  me Our mother

Examples: Note that in the examples below the possessive pronouns are used without article, because they come after verb to be

         O carro meu. The car is mine

         O carro seu. The car is yours.

         O carro dele. The car is his.

         O carro dela. The car is hers.

         O carro nosso. The car is ours.

         O carro deles. The car is theirs.

         O carro delas. The car is theirs.

More Examples: Note that in the examples below the possessive pronouns are used with definite articles

         Minha casa verde. A sua vermelha. My house is green. Yours is red.

         Sua casa verde. A minha vermelha. Your house is green. Mine is red.

         Nossa casa branca. A dele azul. Our house is white. His is blue.

         Nossa casa branca. A dela azul. Our house is white. Hers is blue.

Note I

The possessive pronouns seu /seus /sua / suas can be used to refer to your (yours), his, her (hers) and their (theirs) causing ambiguities, because you dont know if the pronoun is referring to you or to other person.

In some cases to avoid ambiguity of the nouns ownership, the possessive pronouns dele / deles / dela /delas are used to refer to his - dele, her/hers - dela, their/theirs - deles, their/theirs, but for feminine group - delas. These pronouns agree in gender and number with the person who owns the thing, because these possessive pronouns always refer to the person and not to the object.

Examples:

Ele no encontrou seu amigo. He did not meet your/his friend. - This sentence has an ambiguity because you dont know if the person is referring to your or his friend. If the person is referring to his friend is better to say:

Ele no encontrou o amigo dele.  He did not meet his friend. - You can observe that dele agrees in gender and number with ele and comes after noun.

More examples:

         Seu pai Your father

         Pai dele His father

         Pai dela Her father

         Pai deles Their father

         Pai delas Their father

Note II

The possessive pronouns teu /teus /tua / tuas can also be used to refer to your and yours. And in this case, they also agree in gender and number with the thing possessed.

Examples:   

         Teu pai Your father

         Teu carro Your car

 

         Tua me Your mother

         Tua casa Your house

Note III

Usually Portuguese grammar books recommend that it is not necessary to use possessive pronouns before body parts, especially when they are used to complement the verb. But colloquially is very common to use possessive pronouns along with body parts.

Example:

Eu quebrei o dente. (I broke my tooth). You can observe that there is no possessive pronoun along with the bodys part.