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Possessive Adjectives in Spanish: Part 2

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. 

 

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What's the Difference Between Short and Long Form Possessive Adjectives in Spanish? 

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

 

The Long Form Spanish Possessive Adjectives

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.

 

Yomío, mío, míos, mías (my, mine, of mine)

 

tuyo, tuya, tuyos, tuyas (your, yours, of yours)

 

Él/ella/ustedsuyo, 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/vosotrasvuestro, vuestros, vuestra, vuestras ((plural informal) your, yours, of yours)

 

Ellos/ellas/ustedessuyo, 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. 

 

Examples of Long Form Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

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.

 

1. Mío, mío, míos, mías

 

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 2

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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 2

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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 Voluntarios

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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

 

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2. Tuyo, tuya, tuyos, tuyas 

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?

Caption 6, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 3: ¿De quién es esta mochila?

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Así que, ¿no soy hijo tuyo?

So, I'm not your son?

Caption 68, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 2

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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. 

 

3. Suyo, suya, suyos, suyas

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 2

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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 3

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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.

Caption 41, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 1

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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! 

 

4. Nuestro, nuestros, nuestra, nuestras

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 2

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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.

Caption 55, Lecciones con Carolina Adjetivos posesivos - Part 1

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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

 

5. Vuestro, vuestros, vuestra, vuestras

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 2

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¿Y el embutido es vuestro?

And, the sausage is yours?

Caption 57, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 4

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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).

 

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10 Spanish Words That Change Meaning with Gender

Let's enhance our vocabulary today! As you know, nouns in Spanish are defined by number and gender. However, there are some nouns that can be both masculine and feminine. Moreover, depending on the gender they have, these nouns change their meanings completely. With that being said, let's take a look at some Spanish words that change meaning with gender.

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1. Capital

Feminine: la capital (a capital city)

 

Está ubicada a ciento diez kilómetros de Quito, la capital del Ecuador.

It is located one hundred and ten kilometers from Quito, the capital of Ecuador.

Caption 6, Otavalo - El mercado de artesanías de Otavalo

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Masculine: el capital (capital: money)

 

No buscar la acumulación de capital

It's not seeking the accumulation of capital,

sino buscar la satisfacción de necesidades sociales.

but seeking the satisfaction of social necessities.

Captions 74-75, De consumidor a persona - Short Film

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2. Cólera

Feminine: la cólera (anger, rage)

Masculine: el cólera (cholera - the illness)

 

3. Coma

Feminine: la coma (a comma - punctuation)

Masculine: el coma (a coma - medicine)

 

4. Cometa

Feminine: la cometa (a kite)

 

Pero la cometa estaba muy alta para cogerla.

But the kite was too high to grab.

Caption 22, Guillermina y Candelario - El Gran Descubrimiento

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Masculine: el cometa (a comet - astronomy)

 

5. Corte

Feminine: la corte (a court of law OR the royal court of a king)

 

Creo que voy a apelar esta decisión a la Corte Suprema.

I think I'm going to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court.

Caption 83, Los casos de Yabla - Problemas de convivencia

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...que le habían sido cedidos para recreo de la corte.

...that had been handed over to him for the court's recreation.

Caption 59, Marisa en Madrid - Parque de El Retiro

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Masculine: el corte (a cut - injury OR the cut of hair or a suit)

 

Y ahora voy a hacer el corte aquí.

And now I am going to make the cut here.

Caption 42, Instrumentos musicales - Ocarinas

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6. Cura

Feminine: la cura (the cure)

 

Tu madre no tiene cura.

Your mom has no cure.

Caption 45, Muñeca Brava - 44 El encuentro

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Masculine: el cura (a priest)

 

Aquí no habrá noche de bodas mientras no vayan con un cura.

Here, there will be no wedding night until you go to a priest.

Caption 23, El Ausente - Acto 4

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7. Final

Feminine: la final (the sports final, the playoffs)

 

Jueguen como si fuera la final.

Play as if it were the finals.

Caption 46, Carlos explica - Tuteo, ustedeo y voseo: Ustedes y vosotros

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Masculine: el final (the end)

 

Al final le he pedido disculpas y todo.

In the end, I apologized to him and everything.

Caption 55, Cortometraje - Flechazos

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8. Frente

Feminine: la frente (the forehead)

 

"María le tocó la frente a su hijo para ver si tenía fiebre".

"Maria touched her son's forehead to see if he had a fever."

Caption 17, Carlos explica - Vocabulario: El verbo “tocar”

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Masculine: el frente (the front - military)

Los soldados están en el frente de batalla.

The soldiers are on the battle front.

 

9. Guía

Feminine: la guía (a guide book OR a female guide OR a telephone book OR guidance)

 

Todo bajo la guía de un profesor de educación física.

All with the guidance of a P.E. teacher.

Caption 7, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1

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¡Pippo, traé una guía!

Pippo, bring me a phone directory.

Caption 55, Yago - 5 La ciudad

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Masculine: el guía (a male guide)

 

Mi nombre es Mauricio y soy un guía turístico.

My name is Mauricio and I'm a tour guide.

Caption 27, Pipo - Un paseo por la playa de Atacames

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10. Orden

Feminine: la orden (a command OR a restaurant order)

 

Normalmente, cuando estás haciendo una orden...

Usually, when you're placing an order...

Caption 28, Natalia de Ecuador - Ordenar en un restaurante

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Masculine: el orden (order)

 

Listo, señor Rolleri; todo en orden.

Done, Mister Rolleri; everything's in order.

Caption 68, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 2

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That's if for today. Do you know more Spanish words that change meaning with gender? We challenge you to find more and don't forget to send us your questions and comments.

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Quejarse: To Complain

¡Y además te quejas!

And still, you're complaining!

Caption 7, Tu Rock es Votar - Comercial de TV

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Quejarse is a verb meaning "to complain," so we translate the above phrase directed at Mexico's voters as:
"And still you're complaining!"

 

Así que no puedo quejarme.

So I can't complain.

Caption 33, Federico Kauffman Doig - Arqueólogo

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Similarly, the affable Federico Kauffman Doig uses quejarme when he states "So I can't complain."

On a related note, you won't be surprised to learn, if you didn't yet know it;
una queja is "a complaint."

 

Tengo que pedir el libro de reclamaciones y poner una queja.

I have to ask for the complaint log and make a complaint.

Caption 6, Raquel - El libro de reclamaciones

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Mañana misma pongo la queja.

Tomorrow I'll put in the complaint.

Caption 23, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 2

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Cuando hace humedad, podemos escuchar a la gente quejándose por ello.

When it's humid, we can hear people complaining about it.

Captions 27-28, Clara explica - El tiempo

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The preposition following quejarse is often de.


Se queja de un dolor en el abdomen.
She complains of pain in the abdomen.

Se la pasa quejándose de que no tiene dinero.
She is always complaining about having no money.

Vocabulary

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