Possessive Adjectives

Learning Italian

Possessive Adjectives   

A possessive adjective indicates who has ownership of an object. So in English the possessive adjectives are my, your, his/her, our, your and their. In English the possessive adjectives change according to who owns the item. So if a house belongs to a man we would say ‘his house‘ and if it belongs to a woman we would say ‘her house‘. We would still say ‘his’ and ‘her’ even if they had more than one house. ‘his houses‘, ‘her houses‘.

In Italian it works differently. The possessive adjective agrees with the object that is owned. This works because, as we know, all nouns in Italian have a gender (masculine or feminine). So if a house belongs to a man we say ‘la sua casa‘ and if it belongs to a woman we still say ‘la sua macchina‘. It doesn’t change because macchina is always feminine so it’s always ‘la sua‘. If they have more than one house the possessive adjective has to change as it must agree with the object. So ‘la sua casa‘ changes to the plural for of his or her and becomes ‘le sue case‘.

The other big difference in italian is that the possessive adjectives are proceeded by whatever definite article the noun possessed requires.

Of course there are always exceptions! When the possessed noun is a specific family relative the article is dropped. So we wouldn’t say ‘la mia sorella’ or ‘il mio padre’. We simply say ‘mia sorella‘ or ‘mio padre‘.

The Italian possessive adjectives are laid out in the table below.

myil miola miai mieile mie
your (tu)il tuola tuoi tuoile tue
your (lei), his, heril suola suai suoile sue
ouril nostrola nostrai nostrile nostre
your (voi)il vostrola vostrai vostrile vostre
theiril lorola loroi lorole loro