In English possession may be expressed in five different ways:
Possessive adjectives agree with the person to whom they refer:
- I -> my
- you -> your
- he, her, it -> his (masculine), her (feminine), its (impersonal)
- we -> our
- they -> their
- I have lost my keys.
- They are coming in their car.
- I met your grandparents.
- This car has lost its power.
Note: In English the possessive adjective is used to refer to parts of the body:
- She brushes her teeth twice a day.
- He broke his arm playing soccer.
- His stomach aches.
Possessive pronouns, like the adjectives, agree with the person to whom they refer. Singular and plural share the same form:
- I -> mine
- you -> yours
- he, her, it -> his (masculine), hers (feminine), its (impersonal)
- we -> ours
- they -> theirs
- I have my likes, and she has hers.
- If you give me one of yours, I'll give you one of mine.
- I like our house, but frankly, I am jealous of theirs!
- That's mine!
The verb "to belong to"
The verb "to belong to" indicates ownership or possession:
- That poodle belongs to Louise.
- The world belongs to you.
The "s" of possession
One may add "-'s" to any noun in order to indicate possession:
- I just read Gustave's book.
- The front door's lock is broken.
- Many of the world's countries are poor.
Note: Do not confuse the "s" of possession with the contraction of the verb "is":
- Fred's going to fetch it. (= Fred is going to fetch it.)
- The train's late again. (=The train is late again.)
"Whose" for indicating possession
"Whose" will be placed before the possession (the object possessed), and will refer ownership to the preceding noun:
- The man whose dog bit me said he was sorry. (The dog belongs to the man.)
- Here is the woman whose daughter I intend to marry. (The woman is the mother of the daughter.)