When it comes to French Possessive Adjectives, our main focus should zero down on figuring out what we’re ‘describing’. The gender of the speaker does not play the only role here.
Let’s take the example of – his shirt.
You must have got an idea by now but to state it simply, Possessive Adjectives are words that point to whom the thing belongs to. In this case, his shirt.
Possessive Adjectives – English
Let’s first take a look at English. Here, there are seven possessive adjectives.
my/your/his/her/its/our/their shirt (s)
The gender or the plural does not matter. The only focus here is on the subject i.e. the owner of the shirt.
Possessive Adjectives – French
Yes, we’re not denying that you still have to narrow down who the owner is but when it comes to using the possessive adjective, you need to also understand the gender and the plurality of the possession.
English – This is his shirt.
[Our focus is ‘he’ who is the owner]
French – C’est sa chemise.
[Our focus is ‘he’ but we also look at the gender of the shirt – female.]
French Possessive Adjective Chart
|Your (1 personal informal)||mon||ma||mes|
|Your (1 person formal or plural)||votre||votre||vos|
Understanding Conjugation For The French Pronoun ‘On‘
If a sentence has the pronoun ‘on‘, the meaning will rely on the meaning of ‘on‘.
- When the meaning of ‘on‘ is ‘one’ or ‘they’, we use ‘son, sa, ses‘ .
- And if the meaning of ‘on‘ is ‘we’, we use ‘notre, nos’.
Making The Correct Choice For French Possessive Adjectives
Here are two rules to keep in mind when picking the French Possessive Adjective.
Rule 1 – Who does the thing belong to?
There are a number of options here – my, your, his, her, its, their, or our. Pick the one that suits your needs.
Rule 2 – What is the thing?
In French, this is the most important part. Other than understanding the owner, we have to consider the word that follows.
Is the word feminine or masculine and is it singular or plural?
Note: French has gender for each word. Many grammar topics require you to learn the words along with their genders and even in possessive adjectives it’s what decides how the sentence is written. In conclusion, get your gender practice on!
- This is his shirt.
C’est sa chemise.
[The pronoun here is male but because the word that follows is feminine, we use the french possessive adjective ‘sa‘.]
- This is her shirt.
C’est sa chemise.
[The pronoun here is female but the translation remains the same because the shirt is still feminine.]
- This is her hat.
C’est son chapeau.
[The pronoun here is female but as you can see with the gender of ‘hat’ the possessive adjective changed to masculine.]
- This is their hat.
C’est leur chapeau.
[The pronoun is plural but the possessive adjective remains singular feminine.]
Keep An Eye Out For Exceptions
- The mistake between Ses and Leur. Here’s how to remember the difference:
– If the possessive adjective points to 3rd person singular – ‘he or she’, then use ‘sa, son or ses‘.
For example: This is his shirt (s).
C’est sa chemise (s).– If the possessive adjective points to 3rd person plural – ‘they’, then use ‘leur or leurs‘.
For example: This is their shirt (s).
C’est leur chemise (s).
- The Mutant French Possessive Adjective.
As a rule, remember that if a feminine word starts with a vowel or a mute ‘h’, we won’t use ‘ma, ta or sa‘. However, ‘mon, ton or son‘ will be used so as to avoid a clash with vowels and have proper pronunciation. Example: This is your car.
C’est ton auto.
[As you can see, instead of using ‘ta’ for car, we’ve used ‘ton‘ – masculine].
- French Possessive Adjectives don’t take elision.
Don’t use M’, t’ or s’ (me, te or se) for possessive adjectives as these indicate reflexive pronouns in French.
We hope this guide was helpful in understanding the various parts of French Possessive Adjectives. Above all, we hope you use this to practice more. Au revoir, until next chapter!
For further assistance and better understanding, you may get in touch with French tutors online!