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What is a Possessive Determiner? (Definition and Examples)

What is a possessive determiner? How does a possessive determiner work? To genuinely enter the realm of fluency in English, it is essential to have a solid understanding of how possessive determiners in the language function.

What are possessive determiners?

Words that signify ownership or possession in the English language are referred to as possessive determiners.

It is possible to come across publications that refer to them as possessive adjectives.

However, given that they are not adjectives, this definition is technically incorrect.

In addition, while the idea of ownership is the primary concept communicated by determiners, it is not the only one. When talking about your husband, your parents, or even your coworker, none of these individuals are actually yours.

Words that describe someone or something that have a relationship with you are examples of possessive determiners. This is a more accurate description of what possessive determiners are.

How to correctly utilize possessive determiners in sentences

Determiners of possession are a useful tool for referring to items.

When referring to a specific person or thing, such as “my pet,” “his automobile,” or “our room,” they are useful.

Before the noun that they use to establish ownership, possessive determiners are inserted in the sentence.

Here are a few instances:

  • James closed on the purchase of his new house yesterday.
  • It was important to Charlie and Selena that their dog receive proper training.

It is customary to place the determining factor ahead of the goods that are possessed; in this instance, that would be the house and the dog.

What is the key distinction between pronouns and possessive determiners?

Pronouns are used on their own, whereas determiners are used in conjunction with nouns.

The distinction is not big, but it is essential to understand since it is quite improper to employ a determiner without a noun.

When do you use pronouns instead of determiners, and when do you use determiners?

A determiner is a word used when it is important to identify the subject of a sentence.

Take for instance the situation when Charlie discovered a phone that he had misplaced one month ago. The correct form of the sentence is:

  • Charlie was able to track down his phone that he had misplaced one month ago.

You are using the determiner to specify what Charlie has lost in the context of this statement. Charlie’s phone was the one he had lost; consequently, it was not a random phone.

When making a claim to ownership, which is the main focus of the phrase, employ a pronoun.

Suppose a person wants to identify the person who owns the bicycle that is parked in front of the shopping center.

It is this the precise piece of information that the person is seeking if they question who the owner of the bicycle is.

So you’d answer:

  • She owns the bicycle that is parked in the front yard.

We already know which bike is being discussed, namely the one that is parked outside. So, the purpose of this line is to tell us who the owner of the bike that is parked outside is.

It is not possible to substitute the pronoun in this phrase with a determiner in its stead.

  • The bike parked outside is her.

Because determiners cannot stand on their own, the sentence not only sounds strange but is also grammatically incorrect.


1. What is a possessive determiner?

To show ownership or membership in a group, use a specific type of pronoun known as a possessive determiner.

The reader is given an easier time understanding who or what has the noun that is being determined by it.

2. Which of the following are some of the most often encountered possessive determiners in the English language?

Some of the most typical examples of possessive determiners may be found in the English language’s pronouns. Among them are the items listed below:

1. His

2. Her

3. Our

4. Their

5. Your

6. My

3. What are the examples of the various possessive determiners?

The following are some instances of possessive determiners being employed in sentences:

  • Charles asked James if they could buy an apartment together.
  • Selena and Mary did not know where their laptops were.
  • Is this puppy your new pet?
  • Dr. Smith said that his patients were all satisfied with his treatment.
  • James loved his brother more than anything else in the world.


  1. Possessive Determiners
  2. Possessive determiner
  3. Possessive Determiner in English Grammar
  4. Possessive determiners in English

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About the author

Dalia Y.: Dalia is an English Major and linguistics expert with an additional degree in Psychology. Dalia has featured articles on Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, Grammarly, and many more. She covers English, ESL, and all things grammar on GrammarBrain.

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