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Possessive Adjectives in Spanish: Part 1

What are possessive adjectives in Spanish? Most simply put, possessive adjectives in Spanish are the Spanish equivalents of words like "my," "your," "his, "mine," etc. that indicate ownership or possession. There are two types of Spanish possessive adjectives: long form and short form. In the first part of this lesson, we will deal with how to use short form possessive adjectives in Spanish. 

 

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Short Form Spanish Possessive Adjectives 

Let's take a look at the short form Spanish possessive adjectives and how they correspond to the personal pronouns in Spanish: 

 

Yo: mi, mis (my)

: tu, tus (your)

Él/ella/usted: su, sus (his, her, its, your) 

Nosotros/nosotras: nuestro, nuestros, nuestra, nuestras (our)

Vosotros/vosotrasvuestro, vuestros, vuestra, vuestras (plural informal "your")

Ellos/ellas/ustedes: su, sus (their/plural "your")

 

What did you notice at first glance? Allow us to point out a couple of our observations: 

 

1. The Spanish possessive adjectives that correspond to nosotros/nosotras (masculine and feminine "we") and vosotros/vosotras (masculine and feminine plural, informal "you") look a bit more complicated because there are more forms, four rather than two. This is because the forms of these Spanish possessive adjectives are affected by the genders of the nouns they modify, whereas the others are not. 

 

2. The words su and sus in Spanish correspond to a lot of personal pronouns (él, ella, usted, ellos, ellas, and ustedes) and can thus mean a lot of different things ("his," "her," "its," singular and plural "your," and "their"). We'll help you to learn to distinguish their meanings in context.

 

3. Regardless of whether a personal pronoun is singular (e.g. yo, tú, etc.) or plural (e.g. ellosustedes, etc.), they all have singular and plural possessive adjective forms. This is because, whether a Spanish possessive adjective is singular or plural or masculine or feminine has nothing to do with the number or gender of the personal pronoun it is associated with and everything to do with the number and gender of the noun it modifies. 

 

Keeping these points in mind, let's take a closer look at each of the possessive adjectives in Spanish, as well as some examples from our Yabla Spanish video library.

 

1. Mi and mis

Generally speaking, Spanish adjectives agree with the noun they modify in terms of number and gender. That said, the "good news" about the Spanish possessive adjectives for "my," mi and mis, is that they remain the same regardless of a noun's gender. For both masculine and feminine nouns, then, the singular form mi should be used for singular nouns, while the plural form mis should accompany plural nouns. Let's look:

 

A mi lado, tengo a mi amigo, Xavi,

Beside me, I have my friend, Xavi,

Caption 3, Carlos y Xavi Diferencia de pronunciación entre España y Colombia - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

nos encontramos con mi amiga, la rana.

we ran into my friend, the frog.

Caption 18, Guillermina y Candelario Una Amiga muy Presumida - Part 1

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Hoy os voy a hablar de mis amigos felinos, que también son mis vecinos.

Today, I'm going to talk to you about my feline friends who are also my neighbors.

Captions 3-4, Fermín y los gatos Mis gatas vecinas

 Play Caption

 

Los viernes, juego al fútbol con mis amigas.

On Fridays, I play soccer with my friends.

Caption 21, Ariana Mi Semana

 Play Caption

 

As you can see, the singular Spanish possessive adjective mi is used for both the masculine and feminine forms of the noun amigo/a, while the plural Spanish possessive adjective mis is used for the plural masculine and feminine nouns, amigos and amigas. Pretty simple, right? 

 

2. Tu and tus

The short form Spanish possessive adjectives tu and tus, which mean "your" when addressing someone informally, are similarly simplistic: tu is utilized for singular nouns, while tus is used for plural nouns, regardless of gender. Let's see some examples with tu and tus:

 

¿Qué es lo que más te gusta de tu casa?

What is it that you like the most about your house?

Caption 48, Cleer y Lida Juego de preguntas y respuestas - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Déjame saber en tus comentarios

Let me know in your comments

Caption 59, Ana Carolina Conjugaciones verbales

 Play Caption

 

Although the noun casa is feminine, the same Spanish possessive adjective, tu, would also be used for masculine singular nouns (tu coche = your car, etc.). In turn, while the word tus appears with the masculine plural noun comentarios in this example, the very same possessive adjective would be used for feminine plural nouns, e.g. tus manzanas (your apples). 

 

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3. Nuestro, nuestros, nuestra, and nuestras

In contrast to mi/s and tu/s, the Spanish possessive adjectives for "our" do change in accordance with both a noun's number and gender. Let's take a look at the masculine/feminine and singular/plural forms of the nouns hijo (boy), hija (girl), etc. with their corresponding forms of the Spanish possessive adjective nuestro:

 

Nuestro hijo (our son)

Nuestros hijos (our sons)

Nuestra hija (our daughter)

Nuestras hijas (our daughters)

 

As you can see, this Spanish possessive adjective takes the ending -o for masculine singular nouns, -os for masculine plural nouns, -a for feminine singular nouns, and -as for feminine plural nouns. Let's view a couple of examples from Yabla's video library:

 

Para nuestro primer experimento utilizaremos algo que jamás creíamos que podría faltar en nuestros hogares:

For our first experiment, we'll use something we never thought could be lacking in our homes:

Captions 11-13, Ana Carolina Gérmenes

 Play Caption

 

¿Qué había sucedido con nuestra amistad, mmm? ¿Desde cuándo la mujer empezó a gobernar nuestras vidas?

What had happened to our friendship, hmm? Since when did women start to govern our lives?

Captions 17-18, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

We can see in these examples all four versions of the Spanish possessive adjective for "we," all of which agree with the nouns they modify in terms of both number and gender. 

 

4. Vuestro, vuestros, vuestra, and vuestras

If you take the Spanish possessive adjectives for "we" (nosotros, etc.) and replace the "n" with a "v," you have the possessive adjectives in Spanish that mean "your" when addressing more than one person in a less formal situation. This form corresponds to the Spanish personal pronouns vosotros/as, which are primarily used in Spain. Let's take a look:

 

Vuestro hijo (your son)

Vuestros hijos (your sons)

Vuestra hija (your daughter)

Vuestras hijas (your daughters)

 

Let's examine a couple of video excerpts:

 

y además podéis aprovechar para dar vuestra opinión

and you can also take the opportunity to give your opinion

Caption 36, La cocina de María Tortilla de patatas

 Play Caption
 
 

Pero antes vamos a ver a vuestros amigos,

But beforehand we're going to see your friends,

Caption 63, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Microchip para Nacahué - Part 2

 Play Caption
 
You will note that, like the Spanish possessive adjectives for nosotros, vosotros' Spanish possessive adjectives are affected by gender as well as number. 
 

5. Su and sus

The "good news," once again, about su in Spanish and sus in Spanish is that there are only two forms, singular and plural, that modify both masculine and feminine nouns. The "bad news," though, at least in terms of their initial challenge for native English speakers, is that these possessive adjectives in Spanish can mean many different things depending on their contexts. Having said that, let's take a look at su in Spanish and sus in Spanish, which can mean either "his," "her," "its," "your" (in the case of either one or more than one person), or "their."

 

His:

Es su coche (It's his car). 

Son sus coches. (They are his cars). 

Es su motocicleta (It's his motorcycle).

Son sus motocicletas. (They are his motorcycles).

 

Her:

Es su coche (It's her car). 

Son sus coches (They are her cars). 

Es su motocicleta (It's her motorcycle). 

Son sus motocicletas (They are her motorcycles).

 

Your (formal, one person):

Es su coche (It's your car). 

Es su motocicleta​ (It's your motorcycle).

Son sus coches (They are your cars).

Son sus motocicleta​s (They are your motorcycles). 

 

Your (more than one person):

Es su coche (It's your (guys') car). 

Es su motocicleta (It's your (guys') motorcycle).

Son sus coches (They are your (guys') cars).

Son sus motocicletas (They are your (guys') motorcycles). 

 

Their:

Es su coche (It's their car). 

Es su motocicleta (It's their motorcycle).

Son sus coches (They are their cars).

Son sus motocicletas (They are their motorcycles). 

 

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Wait, what?! You might notice that the four sentences under each English possessive adjective category are all the same! And yet, their translations are totally different. So, how would we decipher the intended meaning of su in Spanish or sus in Spanish when these two possessives in Spanish can mean so many things? As always, context is key! Let's take a look at some examples to illuminate this:

 

El artista más importante es Gaudí. Hoy voy a visitar una de sus obras más conocidas, la Sagrada Familia.

The most important artist is Gaudi. Today I'm going to visit one of his most well-known works, the Sagrada Familia [Sacred Family].

Captions 45-47, Ariana España

 Play Caption

 

Since the previous sentence mentions the artist Gaudi, it is pretty obvious that sus in this context means "his," referring to "his works." And, just to reiterate, the plural form sus must be used here since obras is a plural noun, in spite of the fact that Gaudi is just one person since one person can own more than one thing, while more than one person can own just one thing (think nuestra casa). Let's take a look at a couple of additional examples of su/s in Spanish:

 

por ejemplo, para que usted practique con su novia, Cata.

for example for you to practice with your girlfriend, Cata.

Caption 17, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 2 - Part 6

 Play Caption
 

Here, the word usted tips us off that the speaker means "your girlfriend," as su in Spanish can mean "your" in the formal style of address. And, even in the absence of that explicit word, were someone to generally address you with the usted form, you would take for granted that they meant "you" when utilizing su in Spanish or sus in Spanish. Let's see one more:

 

Desde sus inicios, el Centro Hispano de Todos los Santos se ha dedicado a sembrar esperanza.

Since its beginnings, the Centro Hispano de Todos los Santos [All Saints Hispanic Center] has been dedicated to sowing hope.

Captions 1-2, Transformación Estética

 Play Caption
 

In this example, sus in Spanish has been translated as "its" since the inicios "belong to" an inanimate object: the All Saints Hispanic Center. 

 

Although context can usually provide us with good clues about the meaning of su in Spanish or sus in Spanish, there are ambiguous cases that may require clarification. In a story or conversation involving both males and females, for example, a reference to su casa might cause confusion as to whose house it actually is. In such cases, it might be preferable to, in lieu of a Spanish possessive adjective, employ the preposition de ("of" or "belonging to") plus a personal pronoun (ella, usted, etc.) for the sake of clarity, as in the following example:

 

no es un problema de la gente de la ciudad, es un problema personal de usted conmigo.

it's not a problem of the people of the city, it's your personal problem with me.

Caption 15, Yago 7 Encuentros - Part 1

 Play Caption
 

Since, had the speaker said su problema personal, that could theoretically refer to either la gente de la ciudad (and thus be translated as "their personal problem with me") or the person to whom he is speaking, it was a safer bet to go with de usted.

 

We hope that this lesson has helped you to better understand how to use possessive adjectives in Spanish in their short form. For more information on short form possessive adjectives in Spanish, be sure to check out Adjetivos posesivos- Part 2 from the series Lecciones con Carolina, which deals with agreement, as well as this useful lesson from El Aula Azul entitled La posesión- Part 1. And, as always, no se olviden de dejarnos sus sugerencias y comentarios (don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments).

 

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Muy vs. Mucho in Spanish

Should you use mucho or muyDo you know how to say the Spanish words muy and mucho in English? What is the difference between muy vs. mucho in Spanish? 

 

Definitions of Muy vs. Mucho

Simply put, muy in English would be "very" or "really," while mucho in English means "many," "much," or "a lot." However, as these words can wear muchos sombreros (a lot of hats), muy vs. mucho can be un concepto muy difícil (a very difficult concept) for many English speakers. 

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Muy + Adjective

When muy is accompanied by an adjective, the adjective that modifies the noun must agree with that noun in terms of gender and number. The "good news," however, is that the word muy itself always stays the same, regardless of whether the noun it modifies is singular or plural or masculine or feminine. Let's take a look:

 

es un artista plástico español muy reconocido.

is a very famous fine art artist.

Caption 14, Amaya Vínculo: un mural muy especial

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¡estos plátanos son muy pequeños!

these bananas are very small!

Caption 30, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

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Es una ciudad muy linda que tiene un cri'... clima primaveral.

It's a very beautiful city that has a spri'... spring-like climate.

Caption 47, Cleer Entrevista con Jacky

 Play Caption

 

Las ranas son definitivamente las mejores maestras en salto.muhy Pero son muy vanidosas.

Frogs are definitely the best jumping masters. But they're very full of themselves.

Captions 22-23, Guillermina y Candelario Una Amiga muy Presumida - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Just to reiterate, although the adjectives are singular or plural and masculine or feminine, in agreement with their corresponding nouns, the word muy always remains the same. 

 

Muy + Adverb

The word muy in Spanish also remains the same when accompanying an adverb, which modifies a verb, as in the following examples:

 

Con un poco de práctica, podremos aprender estas reglas muy fácilmente

With a bit of practice, we will be able to learn these rules very easily.

Caption 55, Carlos explica Acentuación Cap. 3: La división en sílabas - Part 1

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Kristen, por ejemplo, tú has dicho, muy rápidamente,

Kristen, for example, you've said, very quickly,

Caption 11, Clase Aula Azul Pedir deseos - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

When constructing or understanding sentences with muy in Spanish, how will you know whether you are contending with an adjective or an adverb? When you see a word that ends with the suffix -mente (equivalent to -ly in English), as in the examples above, you can be sure you have an adverb. However, as not all adverbs take this form and some words can function as either adjectives or adverbs, depending upon the context, it can sometimes be tough to tell the difference. Let's take a look at an example with the word rápido, which may be used as an adverb in lieu of rápidamente:

 

porque lo hacen muy rápido

because they do it very quickly.

Caption 46, Animales en familia Señales de calma y cosquillas en los perros

 Play Caption

 

Like the English word "fast," rápido can function as an adjective when describing a noun (e.g. un carro rápido/a fast car) or an adverb when describing an action (el carro va rápido/the car goes fast) to talk about something that happens "fast" or "quickly." The tricky aspect of this is that, while rápido would need to agree in terms of gender and number when employed as an adjective (e.g. unos carros rápidos), as an adverb, it remains the same (in its masculine singular form) regardless of the number of people or objects performing the action. Let's see one more example:

 

Vamos a trabajar muy fuerte.

We're going to work very hard.

Caption 29, Documental de Alejandro Fernandez Viento A Favor - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Note that as always, the word muy is unchanging, and because fuerte (strong, hard, etc.) works as an adverb here, it remains unchanged, in its singular form, as well. Were it an adjective, on the other hand, gender and number would need to be taken into account, as in the example "Somos muy fuertes" (We are very strong). 

 

Mucho as an Adjective: Mucho + Noun

Moving on to the word mucho in Spanish, taking into account what we have learned thus far regarding adjectives and adverbs, let's examine how this word can function as either of these parts of speech. To start, when mucho functions as an adjective, it must agree in terms of number and gender with the noun it modifies. Let's look:

 

¿Sí? No tengo mucho tiempo libre ahora. 

Right? I don't have a lot of free time now.

Caption 20, Clase Aula Azul Pedir deseos - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

La verdad es que yo he tenido muchos perros,

The truth is that I've had many dogs,

Caption 50, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 11

 Play Caption
 

En Málaga, hay mucha gente con tus mismos síntomas. 

In Malaga, there are a lot of people with your same symptoms.

Caption 20, Ariana Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

muchas personas les gusta ir de vacaciones allí 

A lot of people like to go on vacation there

Caption 22, El Aula Azul Adivina el país - Part 1

 Play Caption
 

As you can see in these examples that employ masculine singular/plural and feminine singular/plural nouns, the form mucho takes (mucho, muchos, mucha, or muchas) changes in accordance with the noun it modifies. 

 

Mucho as an Adverb: Mucho + Verb

In contrast, when mucho functions as an adverb, modifying a verb, it is always mucho in the singular/masculine form, and the gender/quantity of the noun or verb has no effect on it. Let's look at some examples:

 

¿Se utiliza mucho el ajo en los platos peruanos?

Is garlic used a lot in Peruvian dishes?

Caption 19, Recetas de cocina Papa a la Huancaína

 Play Caption

 

Estos ejercicios ayudan mucho

These exercises really help

Caption 59, Bienestar con Elizabeth Relajación

 Play Caption

 

Me gusta mucho este parque.

I really like this park.

Caption 9, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

Sí, me gustan mucho las uvas.

Yes, I like grapes a lot.

Caption 21, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

Mucho/os/a/as as a Pronoun

To conclude our discussion on muy vs. mucho, note that the word mucho and its corresponding feminine/plural alternatives can be used as pronouns to replace nouns that have been mentioned or implied. Notice that the pronoun forms of mucho must agree in gender and number with the nouns they replace, as follows:

 

¿Se encuentran aquí buenas cositas o no, buenas gangas? -Sí, sí, sí. -¿Sí? -Muchas

Can you find good stuff here or not, good bargains? -Yes, yes, yes. -Yes? -Many.

Captions 102-103, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 14

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Sí. -¿Que mucha más gente viene ahora? Sí, mucha. -Yo tengo un niño pequeño entonces...

Yes. -That a lot more people come now? Yes, a lot. -I have a small child so...

Captions 43-44, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 16

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Puedes ver que no tenemos muchos porque hemos vendido últimamente bastantes.

You can see that we don't have many because we have sold quite a few lately.

Captions 46-47, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 11

 Play Caption
 

While you can clearly see in the first two examples that the word mucho changes forms (to mucha and muchas) to agree with the feminine singular and plural nouns it replaces (cositas/gangas and gente), the third example is notable because the noun being replaced by the masculine plural form muchos is not immediately apparent. However, since the conversation in question, which began several captions earlier, involves cars (the masculine plural noun, los coches), the masculine plural form muchos must be utilized to express the idea of "many" in this context. 

 

We hope that this lesson has helped to clarify the difference between muy vs. mucho in Spanish since sus muchos usos y matices pueden resultar muy difíciles (their many uses and nuances can be very difficult) for English speakers. We welcome any insight you might have on mucho vs. muy in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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The Many Facets of the Verb Encontrar

While the most common translation for the Spanish verb encontrar is "to find," this verb is quite versatile and can be used to express a plethora of ideas. Let's take a look at some notable examples. 

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As previously stated, encontrar most typically means "to find" in the sense of "locate" or "discover," as in the following examples:
 

desde Argentina hasta México, podemos encontrar cumbia.

from Argentina to Mexico, we can find cumbia.

Caption 24, Sonido Babel La cumbia

 Play Caption

 

Pero abuelo, yo encontré muchas cosas para hacer el regalo de Guillermina 

But Grandpa, I found a lot of things to make Guillermina's gift

Caption 14, Guillermina y Candelario La Peluqueria del Mar - Part 2

 Play Caption
 

However, the verb encontrar has several additional uses. It is frequently seen in its reflexive form, encontrarse, which, similarly to the verb estar, can mean "to be" or "find oneself":

 

Porque Barcelona se encuentra entre el mar y la montaña.

Because Barcelona is located between the sea and the mountains.

Caption 14, Blanca - Sobre la ciudad de Barcelona

 Play Captio

 

Sí, el Señor Aldo Sirenio no se encuentra en este momento en la empresa.

Yes, Mister Aldo Sirenio is not at the company at the moment.

Caption 35, Yago 5 La ciudad - Part 5

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La gente verdaderamente se encuentra muy preocupada.

People are truly very worried.

Caption 19, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1 - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

Note that, like the verb estar (to be), encontrarse can refer to physical location, a temporary state of being, or the fact of being physically present. For this reason, any of the previous examples could be replaced by the verb estar with no change in translation as follows: 

 

-Porque Barcelona está entre el mar y la montaña

-Sí, el Señor Aldo Sirenio no está en este momento en la empresa.

-La gente verdaderamente está muy preocupada

 

Now, let's look at an example where encontrarse might be more literally translated as "to find onself":

 

De nuevo me encuentro sin un solo centavo

Again I find myself without a single cent

Caption 40, Control Machete El Apostador

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Another use of encontrarse is comparable to the verb sentirse (to feel) in Spanish:
 

Bueno Adrián, ¿qué tal estás? ¿Cómo te encuentras

Well Adrian, how are you? How do you feel?

Captions 5-6, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y condicional

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Quiero pedir una cita para hoy porque no me encuentro bien.

I want to make an appointment for today because I don't feel well.

Captions 9-10, Ariana Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

That said, should a Spanish speaker ask you, "¿Cómo te encuentras?" ("How are you?" or "How do you feel?"), possible answers might include, "Estoy bien" (I'm well), "Más o menos" (OK), or "Me siento mal" (I feel bad). Just don't say "Estoy aquí" (I'm here) since this question most definitely does not refer to your whereabouts! If the question is "¿Dónde te encuentras?" (Where are you?), on the other hand, "Estoy en casa" (I'm at home), or wherever you might be, would be a perfectly acceptable response.

Additionally, the reflexive verb encontrarse con can mean either "to meet" in a planned fashion or "to run into" by chance:

 

Eh, mi hermanito menor se encontró con la noviecita. 

Hey, my little brother met up with his little girlfriend.

Caption 24, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 7

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Imagínate abuelo, que cuando regresábamos de la escuela nos encontramos con mi amiga, la rana. 

Imagine, Grandpa, that when we were coming back from school, we ran into my friend, the frog.

Captions 16-18, Guillermina y Candelario Una Amiga muy Presumida - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

In fact, el encuentro is also a noun which can mean either a planned or chance meeting or encounter.

 

Now, let's look at some alternative meanings of the regular (non-reflexive) form of encontrar, which can also be used in a similar manner as the verb parecer (to seem): 

 

Bueno, doctor, y a mi enfermito ¿cómo lo encuentra?

Well, Doctor, and my little patient, how is he?

Captions 23-24, El Ausente - Acto 1 - Part 1

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si al mundo lo encuentras enfermizo, delirante y brutal

if you find the world sickly, delirious and brutal

Caption 2, SiZu Yantra - Bienvenido

 Play Caption


Although the first example could literally be translated as "How do you find him?" a viable Spanish alternative could be ¿Cómo le parece? (How does he seem to you?), as the doctor is essentially being questioned about his opinion regarding the state of the patient. As the second example also uses the concept of "finding" to describe one's opinion, si el mundo le parece enfermizo (if the world seems sickly to you) expresses a similar idea. 

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Finally, like in English, encontrar can be used to indicate a determination of fact, or "finding":

 

El jurado lo encontró culpable por robo en primer grado.  

The jury found him guilty of first-degree theft. 

 

These are just some of the many uses of the verb encontrar. We hope that you have found them useful y que no te encuentres muy agobiado/a (you don't feel too overwhelmed). And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions!

 

Grammar Verbs

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