289.  Re: Possessive Pronouns or adjectivesI 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.

ANSWER:

GREAT QUESTION!!!!  
 
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 other adjectives: 
thick carpet,
smooth carpet,
indoor carpet,
small carpet, etc.  
 
I can also describe the carpet by telling or describing to whom the carpet belongs:
MY carpet
YOUR carpet
HER carpet
HIS carpet
OUR carpet
THEIR carpet
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
 
ADJECTIVE                      PRONOUN
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 NOUN.     
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 MINE. 
YOURS,             This house is YOURS.
HERS,                 This house is HERS.
HIS (The adjective and the pronoun are exactly alike the SAME word), This house is HIS.
OURS,                 This house is OURS.
THEIRS,                 This house is THEIRS.    AND
NO PRONOUN for "it".
 
HOPE this helps!!!!!!  and THANKS for a GREAT Question.
 
And, by the way, the same is true in Spanish, WHERE WE HAVE POSSESSIVE adjectives AND POSSESSIVE pronouns:
 
ADJECTIVES                                    PRONOUNS
MI casa                        Esta casa es mía.
TU casa                        Esta casa es tuya.
SU casa (de ella)            Esta casa es suya.
SU casa ( de él)            Esta casa es suya.
NUESTRA casa                Esta casa es nuestra.
SU casa (de ellos)            Esta casa es suya.
SU casa (del perro)            Esta casa es suya.

FOLLOW-UP QUESTION:

Subject: Re: Possessive Pronouns or adjectivesThank 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.

ANSWER:
 
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 EXISTS.  
 
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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