The key to understanding Possessive adjectives in French

What is a possessive adjective ?

Possessive adjectives are words used in French to tell who is the owner of something or someone, even if we cannot really speak about owning people.

Example :

  • C’est mon stylo => It’s my pen

  • Ce sont vos enfants? Are these your children ?

How do we use it?

The possessive adjective is a determiner. It is placed just before  the noun. Unlike in English where You have only 7 possessive adjectives, in French you have up to  15. Like most of the adjectives in French, the possessive adjective agrees in number and gender  with the  noun that comes after it.

 

Example :

  • Ma mère (feminine, singular)

  • Mon père (masculine, singular),

  • Mes parents (plural).

It is important to note that the choice of the possessive adjective doesn’t depend on the person who is the owner but  on the noun or person we are referring to.

Example

Nathalie est une fille sympathique.  Son père est français et sa mère est indienne.

As you can see, Nathalie is a girl, but I am not using the possessive “Sa” for everything. I am using Son père = her father and sa mère = her mother. So, always identify the gender of the noun the possessive refers to.

​Possessives adjectives placed before vowel

When the female possessive adjectives ma - ta - sa areplaced before a noun starting with a vowel, you should use the masculine adjectives mon- ton - son. Otherwise, it's sounds akward.

Example 

  • Ma amie ⛔

  • Mon amie 👍

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