Dependent possessive pronoun
English has the following dependent possessive pronouns:
- First person singular: my
- First person plural: our
- Second person singular: your
- second person plural: your
- third person masculine singular: his
- third person feminine singular: her
- third person neuter singular: its
- third person plural: their.
- Third person singular - Generic one: one’s
A possessive determiner can be transformed into independent possessive pronouns by the addition of possessive 's (albeit without the apostrophe) in the case of "your"/"yours", "her"/"hers", our/"ours" and "their"/"theirs". Whilst "his" remains unchanged only because we can’t add -s to s. "Its" is generally not used as a possessive pronoun.
Of course, many writers want to include the apostrophe, hence the issue of its v. it’s.
Pedagogy[edit | edit source]
These pronouns can replace a genitive case determined noun phrase when that phrase is used as a determiner. For example, consider the sentences Elizabeth owns several houses. Elizabeth’s houses are dotted around the country. To avoid repetition, we can replace the second Elizabeth with her, invoking anaphora, and derive Elizabeth owns several houses. Her houses are dotted around the country.
In traditional grammar and pedagogic grammar these words are known as a "possessive adjectives", and analysed as adjectives. There is however a major problem with this since they are categorically not adjectives but pronouns. Calling them adjectives is arguably going to confuse learners as to what exactly an adjective is.