English Grammar: Definite & Indefinite Articles | www.junemolloy.com
Learning English

Possessive Pronouns (“Your” v “Yours”)

A mistake I frequently see made by learners of English is use of the wrong possessive pronoun. For example, someone might say “it is yours coat” instead of “it is your coat”.


  • A pronoun is a small word which takes the place of a noun (or number of nouns) in a sentence, such as me, we, they, etc.
  • A possessive pronoun is a particular kind of pronoun that indicates ownership (or possession) of an item.
  • There are two kinds – weak possessive pronouns (also known as possessive adjectives) and strong possessive pronouns (also known as possessive absolutes).


Grammar Tip | www.junemolloy.com

Weak possessive pronouns are always used in addition to a noun.
Strong possessive pronouns are used instead of a noun.




It is my book.
It is mine.

Your (singular)


It is your book.
It is yours.



It is his book.
It is his.



It is her book.
It is hers.



It is our book.
It is ours.

Your (plural)


It is your book.
It is yours.



It is their book.
It is theirs.



“It” is used where the owner of the book is not human – instead, the owner is either an animal or an inanimate object.

Does this cover belong to that book?
Yes, it is its cover.
Yes, it is its.

Note that while the sentence “Yes, it is its” is grammatically correct, it is considered awkward language and is very rarely used.


No need to use apostrophe

Note that there is no need to use an apostrophe (‘) before the “s” at the end of strong possessive pronouns. For example, you can say:

The book is Susan’s
The book is hers

In the first example, Susan is a possessive noun, not a possessive pronoun. I will cover the use of possessive nouns in a future post.

This post is part of a series on learning English in which I aim to explain English grammar rules as clearly and simply as possible. These posts are aimed primarily at those learning English as a second language. If you are still not clear on the grammar topic described in this post, please let me know in the comments below and I will do my best to clarify. Also, if there are grammar topics you would like me to cover, please let me know in the comments or via email – I am happy to help!

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