Sunday, July 18, 2010

Possessive Adjectives and Pronouns, Part 1

When we are referring to possession, we usually start by learning the very simple sentence structure ser + de + possessor. For example, we could say the following:

El sombrero es de Ricardo. The hat is Ricardo's.


However, if we want to get more technical with our Spanish grammar, we can learn the sets of stressed and unstressed adjectives and pronouns that exist in the language. The first group of possessive adjectives precede the nouns that they modify, and only have two forms: singular and plural. However, the nosotros* and vosotros* forms also differentiate between the masculine and feminine forms of the noun that they modify. Below is the list of possessive adjectives along with an example:

(yo)mi, mis mi computadora, mis libros

(tú)tu, tus tu vida, tus clases

(él, ella, Ud.)su, sus su laboratorio, sus plumas

(nosotros)*nuestro, nuestra, nuestros, nuestras nuestro billete, nuestras lámparas

(vosotros)*vuestro, vuestra, vuestros, vuestras vuestra revista, vuestros chicharrones

(ellos, ellas, Uds.) su, sus su pupitre, sus botellas de agua


A couple of things you'll want to notice above are the nosotros and vosotros forms carry four forms each: the singular masculine, the singular feminine, the plural masculine, and the plural feminine. Also, the third person possessive adjectives su and sus can refer to either his, her, its, your, or there. To clarify, we can add the simple possessive preposition de to the sentence to clarify the possessor, if needs be.

The stressed possessive adjectives are stressed in that they clarify the possessor of the object. We usually do this in order to contrast one object with another. Using boldface, I can show you where the stress is placed in English:

My child is more well-behaved than your child.


Other than being fighting words, we can see how the possessive adjectives are stressed. We can rewrite the sentence in Spanish to say the following:

El niño mío se porta mejor que el niño tuyo.


We'll cover these tomorrow in Part 2. Make sure you commit the rest of the possessive adjectives encountered to memory.

Sigue estudiando,

Professor Joel

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