Possessive Pronouns/Determiners – Seu, Seus, Sua, Suas

There are just a few more pronouns/determiners to learn:

Subject Possessive Pronoun/Determiner English Equivalent
Ele, Ela, Você Seu, Sua, Seus, Suas His, Her/Hers, Your/Yours (formal)
Eles, Elas Seu, Sua, Seus, Suas Their, Theirs

See what happens there? The pronouns/determiners for the third-person singular (and formal second-person singular) and the third-person plural are all the same!

Gender and Number Agreement

Once again, the pronouns or determiners must agree with the respective noun (not with the subject!).
If we’re talking about single objects such as um carro a car (masc. noun) and one uma mota a motorcycle (fem. noun), here’s what we get:

  • O seu carro e a sua mota. His car and his bike. – Each belonging to him
  • O seu carro e a sua mota. Her car and her bike. – Each belonging to her
  • O seu carro e a sua mota. Your car and your bike. – Each belonging to you (individual, formal)
  • O seu carro e a sua mota. Their car and their bike. – Each belonging to them

As you can see, the Portuguese sentence is the same in every situation, so you would have to know which subject (or person) was referred to from a previous sentence in order to understand the context.
If we had multiple cars and multiple bikes, we’d just need to pluralize the sentence:

  • Os seus carros e as suas motas. – The cars and bikes could be his, hers, yours (formal), or theirs.

These constructions tend to be used more often in writing and in formal speech because they create so much ambiguity when there is not enough context. Later you’ll learn a convenient workaround that the Portuguese language gives us to use in these cases.

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