Master Spanish Possessive Adjectives: Learn How To Use Them

Possessive adjectives in Spanish are critical but can be tricky, especially if you’re coming from English. These adjectives change based on who owns something and how many things they own. They help show who something belongs to and can also highlight different emotions or relationships. Knowing when to use each type helps you speak more clearly and correctly in Spanish.

What are Possessive Adjectives in Spanish?

Possessive adjectives in Spanish show who owns something or has a connection to it. These words are essential in Spanish. There are two kinds: short and long. Short ones go before the noun they discuss, and long ones come after. We use the long ones to make it clear who something belongs to.

Short form adjectives

Understanding how to use short-form possessive adjectives in Spanish is key to showing who owns what. These adjectives are simple words like ‘mi’ for ‘my’, ‘tu’ for ‘your’, and ‘su’ for ‘his, her, its, their’. They come before the noun they’re talking about.

Singular Short Form Possessive Adjectives

English Spanish (Masculine) Spanish (Feminine) Example (Spanish) Example (English)
My mi mi Mi libro My book
Your (informal) tu tu Tu casa Your house
His, Her, Its, Your (formal) su su Su coche His/her/your car
Our nuestro nuestra Nuestro jardín Our garden
Your (plural informal, Spain) vuestro vuestra Vuestro perro Your dog
Their, Your (plural formal) su su Su problema Their problem

Plural Short Form Possessive Adjectives

English Spanish (Masculine) Spanish (Feminine) Example (Spanish) Example (English)
My mis mis Mis zapatos My shoes
Your (informal) tus tus Tus libros Your books
His, Her, Its, Your (formal) sus sus Sus llaves Their keys
Our nuestros nuestras Nuestras casas Our houses
Your (plural informal, Spain) vuestros vuestras Vuestras bicicletas Your bicycles
Their, Your (plural formal) sus sus Sus amigos Their friends

Long-form adjectives

Long-form possessive adjectives in Spanish, like ‘mío,’ ‘tuyo,’ and ‘nuestro,’ come after the noun they describe. They clarify who owns something by matching the noun’s gender and number.

Possessive Adjective Meaning Example Usage Translation
Mío(a)(s) Mine El libro es mío The book is mine
Las casas son mías The houses are mine
Tuyo(a)(s) Yours (informal) La bicicleta es tuya The bicycle is yours
Los jardines son tuyos The gardens are yours
Suyo(a)(s) His, hers, yours (formal), theirs El bolso es suyo The purse is hers
Los documentos son suyos The documents are yours
Nuestro(a)(s) Ours El problema es nuestro The problem is ours
Las ideas son nuestras The ideas are ours
Vuestro(a)(s) Yours (plural, informal in Spain) La decisión es vuestra The decision is yours
Las responsabilidades son vuestras The responsibilities are yours

How to Use Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

Possessive adjectives in Spanish change depending on whether the noun they describe is singular or plural. They must match the noun. Also, in some situations, like talking about body parts or personal items like clothes, Spanish speakers usually don’t use possessive adjectives because it’s obvious who they belong to.

Singular and plural forms

When using Spanish possessive adjectives, it’s essential to match them correctly with the number of items you’re talking about. If it’s just one item, use the singular forms. If there are several, go for the plural forms. This rule works no matter the gender of the noun. However, words like ‘nuestro’ and ‘nuestra’ change to fit the number and the gender of the noun they describe.

Confusion with “su” and “sus”

Understanding how to use ‘su’ and ‘sus’ in Spanish can be tricky because they can mean many things: ‘his,’ ‘her,’ ‘its,’ ‘your’ (formal), or ‘their.’ Here’s how it works: use ‘su’ before a single noun and ‘sus’ before a plural noun. Gender doesn’t affect them. For example, ‘su libro’ could refer to ‘his book,’ ‘her book,’ ‘your book,’ or ‘their book.’ On the other hand, ‘sus libros’ might be talking about ‘his books,’ ‘her books,’ ‘your books,’ or ‘their books.’

Understanding “Su” and “Sus”

Possessive Adjective Meaning Example (Spanish) Translation (English)
Su His Su libro His book
Her Su libro Her book
Its Su libro Its book
Your (formal) Su libro Your (formal) book
Sus Their Sus libros Their books
Your (plural, formal) Sus libros Your (plural, formal) books

Practice Sentences

Example (Spanish) Clarified Phrase (Spanish) Translation (English)
Su casa es grande. La casa de él/ella/usted es grande. His/Her/Your (formal) house is big.
Sus hijos están en la escuela. Los hijos de ellos/ellas/ustedes están en la escuela. Their/Your (plural, formal) children are at school.
¿Es su teléfono? ¿Es el teléfono de él/ella/usted? Is it his/her/your (formal) phone?
Sus gatos son adorables. Los gatos de ellos/ellas/ustedes son adorables. Their/Your (plural, formal) cats are adorable.

Exceptions to using possessive adjectives

In Spanish, you don’t always use possessive adjectives like ‘my’ or ‘your’ to show who something belongs to. For example, when talking about body parts or clothes with verbs like ‘tener’ (to have) or ‘llevar’ (to wear), it’s more common to use the definite article – ‘the’ (‘la’, ‘el’, ‘los’, ‘las’). This way, it’s already clear who the owner is without saying it directly.

Exceptions to Using Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

Context Usage Spanish Example English Translation
Body Parts Use definite articles Me duele la cabeza. My head hurts.
Se cortó el dedo. He/She cut his/her finger.
Clothing Use definite articles Me pongo la chaqueta. I put on my jacket.
Ponte los zapatos. Put on your shoes.
Personal Items Use definite articles Perdí las llaves. I lost my keys.
No encuentro el teléfono. I can’t find my phone.

Practice Sentences

Spanish Sentence English Translation
Me lavé las manos antes de comer. I washed my hands before eating.
Se puso la chaqueta porque hacía frío. He/She put on the jacket because it was cold.
No puedo encontrar las llaves. I can’t find my keys.
Me duele el estómago después de comer. My stomach hurts after eating.
Él se cortó el cabello ayer. He cut his hair yesterday.


Knowing Spanish possessive adjectives well is key for clear and effective communication. It’s important to match these adjectives in number and gender with the nouns they refer to, making your sentences clearer and more coherent. Also, knowing when not to use possessive adjectives shows off your language skills. So, regular practice and using these rules in different speaking and writing situations will help you speak Spanish more fluently and understand it better.

About the author
Manuela Bazzo Lauletta
Manuela Bazzo Lauletta, born and raised in Brazil, is a native Spanish speaker. Currently pursuing her graduation from the Insper Institute of Education and Research, Manuela brings a unique perspective to the Translation Blog. Outside of her academic pursuits, she is passionate about dance and performing arts, which adds a creative flair to her writing. Her diverse interests and linguistic skills make her a valuable member of our team.

Leave a Comment