Re: Possessive Pronouns or adjectives.
I am an English teacher in Tijuana, Mexico and I
have a doubt and I wish you could help me with it.
Why are the words "my, your, his, her, our and their" considered
possessive pronouns as well as adjectives? I would really appreciate it if your
could explain me this concept. Thank you very much.
An adjective is a modifier, that is, it
is a word that always ACCOMPANIES a NOUN and tells us something about the
noun -- For example:
red carpet -- the adjective "red"
tell us about the color of the object named by the NOUN "carpet." RED is a
modifier of the noun CARPET by describing the color of the carpet.
I can describe the CARPET by using many
small carpet, etc.
I can also describe the carpet by
telling or describing to whom the carpet belongs:
ITS carpet (meaning the carpet that
belongs in the dog house, for instance.)
As ADJECTIVES, these words -- MY, YOUR,
HER, HIS, OUR, THEIR and ITS ALWAYS accompany a NOUN and are expressed
usually BEFORE a NOUN.
A pronoun -- meaning "in place of the
noun" -- is a word that replaces the NOUN, so, NEVER a pronoun is followed
by a NOUN. For example
MY carpet This
carpet is MINE.
YOUR carpet This
carpet is YOURS.
HER carpet This
carpet is HERS.
HIS carpet This
carpet is HIS.
OUR carpet This
carpet is OURS.
THEIR carpet This
carpet is THEIRS.
ITS carpet This
carpet belongs in the dog house --THERE IS NO PRONOUN for "IT"
So what is the difference between an
adjective --MUST ALWAYS accompany a NOUN--, and a pronoun --NEVER is used
with a NOUN because it replaces the noun it refers to?
That is right!!!!
The ADJECTIVE must always accompany a
NOUN -- because it says something about the noun, IT DESCRIBES the
MY, My house
YOUR, Your house
HER, Her house
HIS, His house
OUR, Our house
THEIR, Their house
ITS Its house
(the bird's house)
The PRONOUN replaces, it is used in
place of a NOUN. So there is NEVER any other word when a PRONOUN is used.
MINE, This house is
YOURS, This house is YOURS.
HERS, This house is
HIS (The adjective and the pronoun are
exactly alike the SAME word), This house is HIS.
OURS, This house is
THEIRS, This house is
NO PRONOUN for "it".
HOPE this helps!!!!!! and THANKS for a
And, by the way, the same is true in
Spanish, WHERE WE HAVE POSSESSIVE adjectives AND POSSESSIVE pronouns:
MI casa Esta casa
TU casa Esta casa
SU casa (de ella) Esta casa
SU casa ( de él) Esta casa es
NUESTRA casa Esta casa es
SU casa (de ellos) Esta casa
SU casa (del perro) Esta casa
Subject: Re: Possessive Pronouns or
adjectives. Thank you very much for answering my
big doubt so fast. I still have a doubt, a Canadian English teacher told me that
"my, your, her, etc." are known as "PPA" that is "possessive pronouns as
adjectives" and I also saw in a grammar book that these words were pronouns.
Your definition is the one that makes sense...."no pronoun can be used with a
noun" can you tell me about this "possessive pronouns being used as adjectives"?
Thank you very much for your time.
The grammatical classification we
know as "Parts of Speech," were designed for LATIN -- neither for
English, Spanish, French or any other language that DID NOT EXIST at the
time that LATIN Grammarians were studying their own language -- NOW a
lost language and almost never spoken, although it is still read and
written and taught in schools for the LATIN roots of a very large number
of English words, and, of course, consulted when NEW plants or chemicals
or other new inventions need to be named.
SO, for English, Spanish, French,
Portuguese, Rumanian, German, etc., etc., etc., we need to CREATE NEW
classifications that better "fit" these languages. But, we still cling
to the LATIN classification which "fits" more or less, many time LESS
than MORE, other languages that diverge from LATIN in many ways.
Modern grammatical books --or
ancient books, for that matter, try to the best of their abilities to
make LATIN "Parts of Speech" fit their post-Latin languages. There
will always be "confused" categories simply because we are using, to
explain today's languages, a system for a language that NO LONGER
What we need is to CREATE English
"Parts of Speech" that REALLY explain English grammatical categories.
In some cases there is coincidence between English and Latin -- in MOST
cases, there is little coincidence, then we invent these
Quasi-categories --a little of this and a little of that-- to try to
solve our problem. It is better to admit that Latin and English (or
Spanish, Portuguese, etc., ) coincide up to here. Then, they do NOT
coincide in expressing ideas using the LATIN "Parts of Speech."
That is it!!!!! ENJOY!!!!!
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