POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS (Pronomi possessivi)
As the term suggests, these pronouns indicate ownership. However, they must not be confused with the possessive adjectives – my, your, his, her, our, their. Rather, they are used in the place of a noun and are rendered as mine, yours, his, hers, ours and theirs. In Italian the possessive pronouns must take the definite article (except where they come after the verb essere – see below), and both the pronoun and the article follow the same rules that apply for adjectives. That is, they differ in gender and number according to the noun that they relate to, and NOT to the person who has the ownership.
mine (m) il mio (f) la mia
yours (m) il tuo (f) la tua
his/hers (m) il suo (f) la sua
his/her/yours (m) il Suo (f) la Sua
ours (m) il nostro (f) la nostra
yours (m) il vostro (f) la vostra
theirs (m) il loro (f) la loro
my (m) i miei (f) le mie
yours (m) i tuoi (f) le tue
his/her (m) i suoi (f) le sue
his/hers/yours (m) i Suoi (f) le Sue
our (m) i nostri (f) le nostre
your (m) i vostri (f) le vostre
their (m) i loro (f) le loro
Note that, as is always the case with loro, it does not change, and whether it relates to a masculine or a feminine noun can become clear from the context in which the pronoun is used (see the examples below).
As explained above an exception to the rule that a possessive pronoun requires the definite article is where it comes after essere. In this case you should not use the definite article unless you wish to emphasise the point (see the second example below).
Ieri la moglie ha usato la sua propria macchina. Oggi, usa la mia.
Yesterday my wife used her own car. Today, she’s using mine.
Quel libro è il mio
That book is mine
Quel libro è mio
That book is mine (as opposed to anyone else’s)
Ridà quei libri a Giovanni. Dopotutto, sono (i) suoi
Give those books back to John. After all, they are his
La compagnia diverrà la loro quando loro papà morirà
The company will become theirs after their father dies
La loro è stata una storia molto strana
Theirs was a very strange story
I libri sono i loro
The books are theirs
Ci piacciono moltissimo le nostre rose, ma non si piacciono le loro
We like our roses very much, but they don’t like theirs
Il nostro problema era risolto piuttosto rapidamente, mentre il loro ha fatto molto tempo di risolvere.
Our problem was resolved fairly quickly, while theirs took a long time to sort out.
La responsibilità è tutta (la) vostra
The responsibility is all yours
Sembro di aver smarrito le mie forbici. Puoi prestarmi le tue?
I seem to have mislaid my scissors. Can you lend me yours?
Use of the possessive when referring to family
Note that when referring to parents, it is quite common to see i miei, i tuoi, i suoi, i loro instead of i miei/tuoi/suoi/loro genitori. In these cases the possessive acts as a noun rather than a pronoun.
However, when referring to specific members of the family, you do not use the definite article, unless you modify the noun.
Mi manca moltissimo mia madre
I miss my mother
Mi manca la mia cara madre
I miss my dear mother
Also, you should use the definite article when using terms such as Mummy (Mamma), Dad or Daddy (Babbo, Babbino).
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