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05 December 2011

Possessive Determiners

Possessive determiners are a part of speech that used in front of a noun to express possession or belonging (as in "my phone").

The possessive determiners in English are my, your, his, her, its, our, and their.

Possessive adjectives/determiners can eliminate repetition in a sentence by replacing a determiner phrase. They allow us, for example, to say the girl took off her glasses instead of the girl took off the girl's glasses.
Possessive determiners are sometimes called possessive adjectives, weak possessive pronouns, or simply possessives.

Types of Possessive Determiners

We use different possessive determiners depending on who owns the thing we are talking about.
Subject                                 Possessive Determiner
 I                                            my
 We                                        our
You                                        your
They                                      their
He                                          his
She                                        her
It                                            its

Using Possessive Determiners

We use a possessive determiner before a noun.
possessive determiner + noun
We use a possessive determiner instead of other determiners.
Kate gave me your book.
Kate gave me a book.
Kate gave me this book.
'Your', 'a', and 'this' are different types of determiners. They tell us different things about the noun, 'book'.
Examples and Observations:

    * "I'd like to be alone with my sandwich for a moment."
      (Bart Simpson, The Simpsons)

    * "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer."
      (Henry David Thoreau, Walden)

    * "You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward."
      (James Thurber, "The Bear Who Let It Alone")

    * "All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

    * "The title possessive adjective is actually more often used than possessive determiner but the latter is a more accurate description. Admittedly, in his car, the word his goes before the noun car and to that extent behaves as an adjective, but in *the his car (compare the old car) it shows itself not to be an adjective; it certainly doesn't describe the car itself."

    * "Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them."

    * "My hovercraft is full of eels."

    * "Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty."
      (Albert Einstein)

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