In a previous lesson, we talked about short form possessive adjectives in Spanish: words like mi (my), tu (your), and nuestro (our), etc. that are placed in front of a noun to indicate ownership. The focus of this lesson will be long form possessive adjectives in Spanish, which, while similar in meaning, are different in terms of their form and placement.
While short form Spanish possessive adjectives always go before the noun they modify, long form possessive adjectives in Spanish come after the noun they describe. Furthermore, while some of the short form Spanish possessive adjectives remain the same whether a noun is masculine or feminine, long form Spanish possessive adjectives always change form for singular/plural and masculine/feminine in all of their forms. And finally, while short form possessive adjectives in Spanish never go with an article, long form Spanish possessive adjectives are often accompanied by a noun's definite or indefinite article.
Let's take a look at the long form Spanish possessive adjectives, their possible meanings, and how they correspond to the personal pronouns in Spanish. You will note that the long form Spanish possessive adjectives for nosotros/as and vosotros/as are the exact same as their short form equivalents.
Yo: mío, mío, míos, mías (my, mine, of mine)
Tú: tuyo, tuya, tuyos, tuyas (your, yours, of yours)
Él/ella/usted: suyo, suya, suyos, suyas (his, of his, her, hers, of hers, your, yours, of yours, its)
Nosotros/nosotras: nuestro, nuestros, nuestra, nuestras (our, ours, of ours)
Vosotros/vosotras: vuestro, vuestros, vuestra, vuestras ((plural informal) your, yours, of yours)
Ellos/ellas/ustedes: suyo, suya, suyos, suyas (their, theirs, of theirs, (plural) your, yours, of yours)
You may have noticed that, in comparison to short form Spanish possessive adjectives, there are more possible translations for long form possessive adjectives in Spanish, which will vary according to their context.
Let's take a look at the many translations of long form possessive adjectives in Spanish via a plethora of examples from Yabla's Spanish video library.
Este sombrero es mío. Estos sombreros son míos.
This hat is mine. These hats are mine.
Captions 10-11, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2Play Caption
Esta botella es mía. Estas botellas son mías.
This bottle is mine. These bottles are mine.
Captions 15-16, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2Play Caption
We chose these two examples to illustrate that, as we mentioned, long form Spanish possessive adjectives always agree with the nouns they modify in terms of both number and gender. As with short form Spanish possessive adjectives, the number/gender of the person or entity that "owns" is insignificant. Additionally, you will note that the translation for these Spanish possessive adjectives here is "mine." Let's look at an example where their translation is slightly different:
Y han venido unos amigos míos desde Mallorca, aquí hasta Málaga,
And some friends of mine have come here to Malaga from Mallorca
Caption 15, Amaya VoluntariosPlay Caption
Not only do we see an alternative translation for the long form Spanish possessive adjective míos (of mine), we see that long form Spanish possessive can be accompanied an article, in this case, the indefinite article unos.
Now, let's look at some translations for the long form Spanish possessive adjective tuyo and its variants:
¿Es tuya esta mochila?
Is this backpack yours?Play Caption
Así que, ¿no soy hijo tuyo?
So, I'm not your son?
Caption 68, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 2Play Caption
The interesting thing about this second example is that the long form Spanish possessive adjective tuyo has been translated as "your" instead of "yours" or "of yours," which is identical to the translation for the equivalent short form Spanish possessive adjective (tu). Hence, the same English sentence could have been written with the short form possessive adjective in Spanish, as follows:
Así que, ¿no soy tu hijo?
So, I'm not your son?
So, we see that there are cases in which we could choose to use either the long or short form Spanish possessive adjective to express the exact same idea in English, although the long form is, perhaps, the slightly less common/more literary manner of doing so.
As we saw in Part 1 of this lesson about short form Spanish possessive adjectives in regards to su and sus, this particular set of long form possessive adjectives can be confusing because they correspond with a lot of personal pronouns (él, ella, usted, ellos, ellas, and ustedes) and thus have a multitude of different translations, which we listed above. Context should usually help you to determine the meaning of these long form possessive adjectives in Spanish. Let's take a look:
Estos sombreros son suyos.
These hats are hers.
Caption 31, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2Play Caption
While this example seems pretty simple at first glance, since the masculine plural form of the Spanish possessive adjective was chosen to agree with the noun it modifies (sombreros) rather than its corresponding personal pronoun (ella), this very same sentence could also mean "These hats are his," "These hats are yours" (one person or multiple people), or "These hats are theirs" (all males, all females, or a mixed group). So, let's hope that the text or conversation has given you some previous clues as to who the hats belong to and/or who is being spoken about (it usually does!). Let's see another example:
Efectivamente, era el rostro suyo
Indeed, it was his face
Caption 35, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 3Play Caption
What can we discern here? First, because the previous sentences in this flash fiction story by Carlos refer to the maestro de ceremonias, we know that "his" was the correct translation choice for suyo in this context. Second, remember that since the translation for the short form possessive adjective in Spanish su in English can also be "his," the very same idea could also have been conveyed with the sentence: "Efectivamente, era su rostro." Finally, we will reiterate that, although with short form possessive Spanish adjectives, the article is never used (it's simply su rostro), with the long form, they can be, as in the case of el rostro suyo. That said, this is a personal choice, and one might also omit the article and write simply "era rostro suyo" with no change in meaning. Let's look at one more variation of this long form Spanish possessive adjective.
Y también me gustó mucho la novela suya, eh, "Amor y pico"; me encantó.
And I also liked your soap opera a lot, um, "Love and Fortune;" I loved it.Play Caption
Here, since the speaker is consistently addressing a female actress with usted (formal "you") and talking to her about a soap opera she did, it is obvious that "your" is the intended meaning of the long form Spanish possessive adjective suya, which agrees in number and gender with the noun it modifies (la novela) and that, furthermore, the speaker chose to include that noun's definite article (la). We bet you're getting the hang of this by now!
Let's start off with some very simple examples:
Este sombrero es nuestro. Estos sombreros son nuestros. Esta botella es nuestra. Estas botellas son nuestras.
This hat is ours. These hats are ours. This bottle is ours. These bottles are ours.
Captions 35-38, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2Play Caption
Now, let's move on to a bit tougher one:
Padre nuestro, vamos a bendecir el alimento que vamos a comer.
Father of ours [or "Our Father], let's bless the food that we are going to eat.Play Caption
Through these clips, we can see not only the number/gender agreement we have been speaking about, but also some different translations for the long form Spanish possessive adjective forms of nuestro.
Let's conclude our lesson by looking at some clips of the long form Spanish possessive adjectives vuestro, etc.:
Esta botella es vuestra. Estas botellas son vuestras.
This bottle is yours [plural]. These bottles are yours [plural].
Captions 41-42, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2Play Caption
¿Y el embutido es vuestro?
And, the sausage is yours?
Caption 57, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 4Play Caption
In lieu of this translation, this last sentence might also have been translated as "And is the sausage yours?" or even "And is it your sausage?"
We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand long form Spanish possessive adjectives and how they are different from short form possessive adjectives in Spanish. As an additional source for learning about long form possessive adjectives in Spanish, we additionally recommend the lesson Clase Aula Azul- La posesión- Part 2, and no se olviden de dejarnos los comentarios y sugerencias tuyos (don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions).