Possessive Adjectives

Possessive adjectives are those that indicate possession or ownership. They correspond to the English "my", "your", "his", "her", "its", "our", and "their".The Italian possessive adjectives are also preceded by definite articles and agree in gender and number with the noun possessed, not with the possessor.

Possessive adjectives  (aggettivi possessivi) and Possessive pronouns (pronomi possessivi) are usually compound forms which include a definite article that is not translated into English. Also, they are identical in form; the difference is in meaning.  Where the possessive adjective "il mio" means "my," for example, the possessive pronoun "il mio" means "mine": "le tue scarpe e le mie"  your shoes and mine.

It is important to note that possessives agree in gender and number with the thing possessed, rather than with the possessor. Examples:

  • i miei amici   my friends.
  • la loro automobile    their car.

The table below provides a chart of possessive adjectives (aggettivi possessivi) in Italian:

Possess. Adjective Masculine Singular Feminine Singular Masculine Plural Feminine Plural Possess. Pronoun

my il mio la mia i miei le mie mine
your (fam.) il tuo la tua i tuoi le tue yours
your (pol.) il Suo la Sua i Suoi le Sue yours
his, her , its il suo la sua i suoi le sue hers,his, its
our il nostro la nostra i nostri le nostre ours
your (fam.) il vostro la vostra i vostri le vostre yours
your (pol.) il Loro la Loro i Loro le Loro yours
their il loro la loro i loro le loro theirs

Yo can see that mio, tuo and suo behave like normal adjectives except in the masculine plural. Also, loro does not make any changes at all, it is invariable. Examples:

  • la mia automobile veloce  »  my car is fast (here my acts as an adjective for the noun car)
  • la loro lenta  »  theirs is slow (here theirs is a pronoun, meaning their car, not mentioned)
  • il suo gatto prese un topo  »  his cat caught a mouse
  • anche il tuo prese un topo  »  also yours caught a mouse
  • il vostro albero alto  »  your (plur.) tree is tall
  • il loro basso  »  theirs is short

Only when the possessed noun is a specific family relative the article is dropped, as in English:

  • mio padre alto (not "il mio padre")  »  my father is tall
  • mia madre giovane (not "la mia madre")  »  my mother is young
  • mio fratello pigro (not "il mio fratello")  »  my brother is lazy

Another important difference is that while in English the gender of the possessive pronoun matches the possessor, in Italian it matches the possessed subject:

  • mio padre ha una bicicletta  »  my father has a bycicle
    la sua bicicletta (sua matches bicicletta, feminine)  »  his bycicle (his matches father, masculine)
  • mia madre ha un cane  »  my mother has a dog
    il suo cane (suo matches cane, masculine)  »  her dog (her matches mother, feminine)