Just like nouns, adverbs, and other parts of speech, determiners are an equally important unit of grammar that helps us form a sentence. They are a need while forming sentences because they provide the necessary information without which the message would remain unsatisfied.
Determiners are generally words that precede a noun in a sentence. They tell us whether a noun is specific or general. But to express a specific noun, we use different forms of determiners to provide the right information. In today’s topic, possessive determiners are one such form of determiners.
Possessive determiners are basically the form of determiners that help us specify a noun by denoting who owns it. They may look similar to possessive pronouns, but they are different. We will learn them thoroughly below.
What are possessive determiners?
Possessive determiners are the form of determiners that precedes a noun phrase like any other form. However, possessive determiners aim at specifying a noun by denoting who possesses or owns that particular noun. Their concept is engraved in determining the ownership of the noun that comes after it, but that is not the only aim. Their basic duty lies in the function of referring to a thing one has a relationship with.
In simple words, possessive determiners are words that refer to a specific thing by denoting its ownership. They are words like my, you, his, her, its, their, our, and your. They clearly show which or whose thing one is referring to.
Let us look at some examples.
- I saw your dog fighting in the street.
- I lost my keychain yesterday.
- He loves his dogs.
- My teacher is very kind.
As we can see, the bold words refer to a specific thing by denoting whose it is or who owns it. Hence, they are said to be possessive determiners.
Difference between possessive determiners and possessive pronouns
People often tend to overlap the uses of possessive determiners and possessive pronouns. But the two concepts are very different from one another and have their specific aims.
Possessive pronouns are words that replace a noun in a sentence by showing ownership, while possessive determiners come before a noun phrase to denote its ownership.
Well, that is only the basic difference between them. The functional difference between the two is that possessive pronouns are used when the whole point of the sentence is to declare the ownership of something. On the other hand, possessive determiner’s main aim is to show possession to specify whose or which thing one is referring to.
Let us understand with some examples.
- I washed my car yesterday.
- The car parked in the driveway is mine.
As we can see, the pronoun tries to focus only on whose car it is. But the determiner focuses on the possession of the noun to specify what is being referred to.
So, we have possessive determiners that come before a noun phrase to specify whose or which thing one is referring to in a sentence.