Determiners – Possessive Determiners 1

Determiners – Possessive Determiners 1

In this lesson we’ll once again tackle a thorny category of determiner for most learners – we’re referring, of course, to possessive determiners. This is something we’ve covered before, but today we’ll be looking at them in depth. Possessive determiners (determinantes possessivos) are determiners used to establish a relationship of possession between a given subject and a noun.

European vs. Brazilian Portuguese

Before we dive in, a quick note about the difference in usage between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese when it comes to possessive determiners. Brazilian Portuguese omits definite articles before possessive determiners much more often than European Portuguese. When you’re trying to figure out whether a book or article is written in European or Brazilian Portuguese, this is one way to help you distinguish between the two.

  • Brazilian Portuguese: Meus pais pagaram minha viagem de finalistas. My parents paid for my graduation trip.
  • European Portuguese: Os meus pais pagaram a minha viagem de finalistas. My parents paid for my graduation trip.

Possessive Determiners and Definite Articles

Before we have a look at the possessive determiners, it’s important to address the fact that, in European Portuguese, possessive determiners are almost always preceded by a definite article – o,a,os,as. Examples:
O meu carro é azul. My car is blue.
A tua mãe é simpática. Your mum’s nice.
Os meus gatos são persas. My cats are Persians.
As casas deles são velhas. Their houses are old.
Like the possessives themselves, the article always agrees in both gender and number with the noun it’s preceding. Let us now see the possessives we’re dealing with.

Person Determiner
Eu o meu/ a minha/ os meus/ as minhas
Tu o teu/ a tua/ os teus/ as tuas
Ele o seu/ a sua/ os seus/ as suas
Ela o seu/ a sua/ os seus/ as suas
Você o seu/ a sua/ os seus/ as suas
Nós o nosso/ a nossa/ os nossos/ as nossas
Vocês o vosso/ a vossa/ os vossos/ as vossas
Eles o seu/ a sua/ os seus/ as suas
Elas o seu/ a sua/ os seus/ as suas

Meu, Minha, Meus, Minhas

Meu is the determiner used for masculine nouns, and minha is used for feminine nouns. Meus and minhas are the plural forms of meu and minha. All of them stand for “my” in English. Examples:
Foi o meu gato. That was my cat.
A minha tia deu-me uma prenda. My aunt gave me a present.
Os meus cachorrinhos são tão giros! My puppies are so cute!
Viste as minhas chaves? Have you seen my keys?

Teu, Tua, Teus, Tuas

Teu is the determiner used for masculine nouns, and tua is used for feminine nouns. Teus and tuas are the plural forms of teu and tua. All of them stand for “your” in English. Examples:
O teu primo é simpático. Your cousin is nice.
Aquela senhora é a tua mãe? Is that lady your mother?
Os teus tios vêm cá jantar. Your aunt and uncle are coming over for dinner.
Pus as tuas meias a lavar. I’ve put your socks in the wash.

Seu, Sua, Seus, Suas

Seu is the determiner used for masculine nouns, and therefore stands for “his”, while sua is used for feminine nouns, and therefore corresponds to “hers”. Seus and suas are the plural forms of seu and sua. Examples:
O seu sofá é muito confortável. Her sofa is very comfortable.
A sua caldeirada de marisco é de morrer. His seafood stew is to die for.
Os seus sapatos são feitos à mão. Her shoes are handmade.
As suas encomendas foram enviadas para trás. His packages were sent back.

Nosso, Nossa, Nossos, Nossas

Nosso is the determiner used for masculine nouns, and nossa is used for feminine nouns. Nossos and nossas are the plural forms of nosso and nossa. All of them stand for “our” in English. Examples:
O nosso irmão está triste. Our brother is sad.
A nossa casa é fria no Inverno. Our house is cold in the winter.
Os nossos carros precisam de ser reparados. Our cars need to be repaired.
As nossas primas foram à Suécia. Our cousins went to Sweden.

Vosso, Vossa, Vossos, Vossas

Vosso is the determiner used for masculine nouns, and vossa is used for feminine nouns. vossos and vossas are the plural forms of vosso and vossa. All of them stand for second person plural “your” in English. Examples:
Arrumem o vosso quarto! Clean your room!
A vossa tia vai ao cinema. Your aunt is going to the cinema.
Os vossos casacos estão na sala. Your jackets are in the living room.
Pus tudo nas vossas malas. I put everything in your bags.
In Portuguese, vosso, vossa, vossos, vossas, are usually used when addressing a group of people or someone who belongs to that group. It is also a (slightly) archaic but polite way of respectfully addressing someone.

Seu, Sua, Seus, Suas

Ah, yes, these possessives again. You see, third person plural uses the same exact possessives as third person singular, in the exact same way, except in this case they are equivalent to “their” in English. Examples:
O seu carro ficou mal estacionado. Their car wasn’t parked well.
A sua casa é muito acolhedora. Their house is very cosy.
Os seus filhos são adolescentes. Their children are teenagers.
As suas primas eram de Aljezur. Their cousins were from Aljezur.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.