What are the French possessive adjectives and pronouns?
The possessive adjectives in French are: mon, ma, mes (my), ton, ta, tes (your), son, sa, ses (his, her), notre, nos (our), votre, vos (your) and leur, leurs (their). In addition to the French possessive adjectives, this page will cover the possessive pronouns (mine, yours, etc.).
French possessive adjectives in nutshell:
- Je (I) -> My: mon, ma, mes
- Tu (you, familiar singular) -> Your: ton, tas, tes
- Il/elle (he/she) -> His/her: son, sa, ses
- Nous (us) -> Our: notre, nos
- Vous (you, plural or formal) Your: votre, vos
- Ils/elles (them) -> Their: leur, leurs
Become an expert in his/her in French
French possessive adjectives are not easy to master. My friend, Camille, at Frenchtoday.com also does a great job covering this topic.
1. French possessive adjectives
The following chart summarizes the French possessive adjectives. We’ve provided much more detailed explanations below.
|English||Preceding masculine singular noun||Preceding feminine singular noun||Preceding feminine plural noun (mas. or feminine)|
|My||mon||ma (mon; for purpose of liaison)||mes|
|Your (familiar)||ton||ta (ton; for purpose of liaison)||tes|
|son||sa (son; for purpose of liaison)||ses|
|Your (formal, plural)||votre||votre||vos|
My in French: Mon, ma, mes
To express, “my” in French, use: mon, ma and mes. The rule for possessive adjectives is that they must agree in gender and number with the noun that they precede.
For example, “livre” (book) is masculine: “le livre”. Hence, “I like my book” is “J’aime mon livre”. We use “mon” because it corresponds with masculine-singular nouns for the “my” (je; mon, ma, mes) line.
The word “voiture” (car) is feminine: “la voiture”. Hence, “I like my car” is “J’aime ma voiture”. We use “ma” because it corresponds with the feminine-singular noun that’s being possessed.
The word “livres” (books) is masculine plural. Hence, the word for my in this situation is “mes”. We use “mes” for both masculine and feminine plural nouns in the “my” (je) form. Hence. “J’aime mes livres” (I like my books.
The same would apply for “voitures” (cars). This is feminine plural but still requires “mes” as “mes” is used for both masculine and feminine plural nouns in the “my” form. Hence, “J’aime mes voitures” (I like my cars).
- J’aime mon livre. I like my book.
- J’aime ma voiture. I like my car.
- J’aime mes voitures. I like my cars.
Your in French: ton, ta, tes (familiar)
“Your” in French is ton, ta and tes. Use these forms for somebody you’d address with “tu”. There are two ways of saying you in French: tu and vous.
“I like your book” in French is “J’aime ton livre”. “Ton” corresponds with your on the “tu” line in the masculine-singular form.
“I like your car” in French is “J’aime ta voiture”. “Ta” corresponds with your on the “tu” line in the feminine-singular form.
“I like your books” and “I like your cars” for the tu-form would be: “J’aime tes livres” and “J’aime tes voitures”. “Tes” is used for both masculine-plural and feminine-plural nouns in the tu-form.
- J’aime ton livre. Like your book.
- J’aime ta voiture. I like your car.
- J’aime tes livres. I like your books.
His and her in French: son, sa, ses
His and her in French are: son, sa, ses. These possessive adjectives correspond with the il/elle (he/she) line of the subject pronouns.
“He likes his book” in French is “Il aime son livre”. We use “son” because “livre” is masculine-singular. However, “She likes her book” also uses “son”: “Elle aime son livre”.
This is because 1) “son” corresponds with the gender and number of “livre” and 2) We use “son” on the il/elle line.
“She likes her car” in French is “Elle aime sa voiture”. We use “sa” because 1) It corresponds with feminine-singualr voiture and 2) We’re on the il/elle line.
“He likes his car” in French is “Il aime sa voiture”. At first glance, this looks like “He likes her car”. However, we use “sa” because 1) It agrees with the feminine-singular of the car and 2) We’re on the il/elle line. Thus, “Il aime son voiture” would be wrong.
Remember, the French possessive adjective must agree with the the gender and number of the noun being possessed and not the subject pronoun.
Thus, “Il aime son livre” could translate to both “He likes his book” and “He likes her book”. To understand this context you must know the context of the sentence.
The same goes for “Il aime sa voiture”. This could mean both “He likes his car” and “He likes her car”. Again, context applies.
“He likes his books” is “Il aime ses livres” and “She likes her books” is “Elle aime ses livres”. The “ses” is in agreement with the plural of the “livers”. Masculine-feminine does not apply for “ses”.
Thus, “He likes his cars” is “Il aime ses voitures” and “She likes her cars” is “Elle aime ses voitures”.
That said, “Il aime ses voitures” can translate to both “He likes his cars” and “He likes her cars”. You must know the context of the sentence.
- Il aime son livre. He likes his book / He likes her book.
- Il aime sa voiture. He likes his car / He likes her car.
- Il aime ses livres. He likes his books / He likes her books.
Our in French: notre, nos
“Our” in French is notre and nos. On this “nous” line, singular-plural applies but masculine-feminine doesn’t apply.
“We like our book” is “Nous aimons notre livre”. We like our books is “Nous aimons nos livres”. The notre/nos changes depending on the singular or plural nature of the noun. The gender of the noun (masculine in this case) is irrelevant for “our” in French.
Thus, “We like our house” is “Nous aimons notre maison” and “We like our houses is “Nous aimons nos maisons”. The feminine gender of “maison” (house) is irrelevant in this case.
- Nous aimons notre livre. We like our book.
- Nous aimons nos livres. We like our books.
You in French: votre, vos
“Your” in French in both the plural and formal form is: votre, vos. These possessive adjectives correspond with “vous”.
Thus, “You like your book” is “Vous aimez votre livre”. “You like your books” is “Vous aimez vos livres”.
For a feminine noun such as “masion”, the votre/vos does not change. “Vous aimez votre mason” (You like your house) and “Vous aimez vos maisons” (You like your houses).
- Vous aimez votre livre. You like your book.
- Vous aimez vos livres. You like your books.
Their in French: leur, leurs
“Their” in French is leur and leurs. These possessive adjectives are used for both “ils” (they; all men or men and women combined) or “elles” (they; group of all women and no men).
“They like their book” is “Ils aiment leur livre”. They like their books is “Ils aiment leur livres”. Again, gender is irrelevant for the “their” line.
If the “they” is referring to a group of females only (elles), the example sentences would be the same: “Elles aiment leur livre” (They like their book) and “Elles aiment leurs livres” (They like their books).
- Ils aiment leur livre. They like their book.
- Ils aiment leurs livres. They like their books.
French possessive adjectives video
In the following video, Alexa, summarizes the possessive adjectives in detail.
2. French possessive pronouns
Possessive pronoun equates to “mine”, “yours”, “his”, “hers”, etc. and replace a noun introduced by a possessive adjective. For example, “J’aime ta voiture mais je prefere la mienne” (I like your car but I prefer mine”. In this sample, “la mienne” is a possessive pronoun.
French possessive pronouns table
The following chart summarizes how to say “mine”, “yours”, etc. in French.
His, hers, its
The following example sentences use “c’est”, meaning both “he’s”, “she’s” and “it’s”. This page covers c’est in more detail.
- C’est ma voiture -> C’est la mienne. It’s my car -> It’s mine.
- C’est ton chien -> C’est le tien. It’s your dog -> It’s yours.
- C’est notre maison -> C’est la nôtre. It’s our house -> It’s ours.
- Ce sont leurs chats -> Ce sont les leurs. -> They’re their cat. They’re theirs.
More uses of French possessive pronouns with example sentences
Here are some more example sentences using French possessive pronouns:
- Tes parents habitent en Angleterre. Les miens habitent en France. Your parents live in England. Mine live in France.
- J’aime mon ordinateur mais je péfère le tien. I like my computer but I prefer yours.
- J’aime ma pizza mais je je péfère la vôtre. I like like my pizza but I prefer yours.
- J’aime notre bateau mais je péfère le leur. I like our boat but I prefer theirs.
- J’aime nos chats mais je péfère les leurs. I like our cats but I prefer theirs.
Possessive pronouns are also used for making comparisons.
- Mon père est plus âgé que le tien. My father is older than yours.
- Ma voiture est plus grande que la tienne. My car is bigger than yours.
- Ta maison est plus spacieuse que la mienne. Your house is more spacious than mine.
Le sien and la sienne can cause confusion as they can mean his and hers. You must know the context of the sentence to understand the meaning.
- J’aime cette chaise mais je péfère la sienne. I like this chair but I prefer his. Note: This could also mean I prefer hers as la sienne must agree with la chaise, which is feminine.
- J’aime mon chien mais je péfère le sien. I like my dog but I prefer his. Note: This could also mean I prefer hers. Le sien must agree with the gender of le chien, which is masculine.
The prepositions à and de contract with possessive pronouns.
- Tu penses à ton examen et je pense au mien. You think about your exam and I’m thinking about mine.
- Tu téléphones à tes parents et je téléphone au miens. You call your parents and I call mine.
- Tu te souviens de tes vacances et je me souviens des miennes. You remember your vacation and I remember mine.
- Tu as besoin de ta voiture et j’ai besoin de la mienne. You need your car and I need mine.
French possessive pronouns video
Alexa on YouTube does a great job covering the French possessive pronouns.