Easy Learning Italian

Possessive adjectives - Easy Learning Grammar Italian

What is a possessive adjective?
In English a possessive adjective is a word such as my, your, his that is used with
a noun to show who it belongs to.
How to use possessive adjectives

1  The basics

  • Unlike English you usually put the definite article (il, la, i, le) in front of the possessive adjective.
  • As with all adjectives ending in –o, change the ending to:
  • –a for the feminine singular
  • –i for the masculine plural
  • –e for the feminine plural
il mio indirizzomy address
la mia scuolamy school
i miei amicimy friends
le mie speranzemy hopes
  • You can also use the indefinite article in front of the possessive adjective in examples like:
una mia amicaa friend of mine
un suo studenteone of her students
  • You usually put possessive adjectives in front of the noun they describe.
  • The following table shows all the possessive adjectives:
il miola miai mieile miemy
il tuola tuai tuoile tueyour (belonging to someone you call tu)
il suo la sua i suoile sue his; her; its; your (belonging to someone you call Lei)
il nostrola nostrai nostrile nostreour
il vostrola vostrai vostrile vostreyour (belonging to people you call voi)
il lorola loroi lorole lorotheir
  • For more information on Ways of saying ‘you’ in Italian, see Subject pronouns.
Dove sono le mie chiavi?Where are my keys?
Luca ha perso il suo portafoglio.Luca has lost his wallet.
Ecco i nostri passaporti.Here are our passports.
Qual è la vostra camera?Which is your room?
Il tuo amico ti aspetta.Your friend is waiting for you.
TipPossessive adjectives agree with the noun they go with, NOT with the person who is the owner.
Anna ha perso il suo smartphone.Anna has lost her smartphone.
Marco ha trovato la sua agenda.Marco’s found his diary.
Le ragazze hanno i loro biglietti.The girls have got their tickets.
  • Note that possessive adjectives aren’t normally used with parts of the body.
    You usually use il, la, and so on (the definite article) instead.
Mi sono fatto male alla gamba.I’ve hurt my leg.
Si sta lavando i capelli.She’s washing her hair.
Key points
  • Italian possessive adjectives agree with the nouns they describe.
  • Italian possessive adjectives are usually preceded by an article.
  • Possessive adjectives are not usually used with parts of the body.

2  How to use possessive adjectives when talking about relatives

  • To say my mother, your father, her husband, his wife and so on, use the possessive adjective without the definite article.
mia madremy mother
tuo padreyour father
suo maritoher husband
sua mogliehis wife
mia sorellamy sister
tuo fratelloyour brother
  • This applies to all family members in the singular, except for the words mamma (meaning mum) and babbo and papà (both meaning dad).
la mia mammamy mum
Maria e il suo babboMaria and her dad
  • Note that if you describe a family member with an adjective, for example my dear wife, her younger sister, you DO use the definite article with the possessive.
il mio caro maritomy dear husband
il suo fratello maggiorehis older brother
  • You DO use the definite article with the possessive adjective when you’re referring to family members in the plural.
Sandro e i suoi fratelliSandro and his brothers
Laura e le sue cognateLaura and her sisters-in-law
Key points
  • Use the possessive adjective without the definite article when talking about family members in the singular.
  • Use the possessive adjective with the definite article when talking about family members in the plural.

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