Possessive Pronouns & Contractions: Definition & Examples


English language has eight parts of speech.

The parts of speech with their various functions make English language what it is. Each part of speech has numerous sub divisions and types and each type has a set of characteristics. With the eight parts of speech being Interjections, Conjunctions, Prepositions, Nouns, Pronouns, Adverbs, Verbs and Adjectives, the most commonly required parts of speech without which even the simplest of tenses cannot be constructed are Nouns and or Pronouns and Verbs.

In this tutorial, it is Pronouns that will be explored in detail. Pronouns are, simply put, words that inherently have the same functions as a Noun and are used in place of it to avoid the dragging of speech.

What are Possessive Pronouns?

  • Pronouns can broadly be divided into 12 categories –

  • Reciprocal Pronouns

  • Distributive Pronouns

  • Relative Pronoun

  • Reflexive Pronouns

  • Personal Pronouns

  • Intensive Pronouns

  • Subject Pronouns

  • Demonstrative Pronouns

  • Object Pronouns

  • Indefinite Pronouns

  • Interrogative Pronouns and

  • Possessive Pronouns.

Out of these, Possessive Pronouns go on to clarify the relation of a thing or person to its or their potential owner.

For example, if I say, ‘This tutorial is mine’, it means I have ownership of this Tutorial or that it belongs to me. Thus, the word ‘mine’ reveals the relation of the tutorial with me.

Types of Possessive Pronouns

There are two types of Possessive Pronouns - Absolute Possessive Pronouns or Strong Possessive Pronouns and Possessive determiners or Weak Possessive Pronouns.

Absolute Possessive Pronouns

Absolute Possessive Pronouns like ‘yours’ make possession known strongly

  • Absolute Possessive Pronouns happen to show absolute ownership over something.

  • Some strong possessive pronouns are Mine, hers, his, theirs, ours, its, yours.

  • These pronouns give more prominence the ownership of the object than the subject who acts as the agent of the action or the object who acts as the receiver of that action.

  • Some examples of Strong Possessive Pronouns are −

    • Don’t touch this ice-cream, it’s mine.

    • Why are you touching Sharon’s purse? It’s hers

    • Do you even know whose watch this is? It’s his.

    • She told me it’s theirs.

    • This picnic spot is ours.

    • This dog is too small for its age.

    • Don’t give this to anyone, it’s yours.

Weak Possessive Pronoun

  • Weak Possessive Pronouns make their possession known but not with as much strength as Absolute Possessive Nouns.

  • Words such as My, his, her, their, our, your are all Weak Possessive Pronouns.

  • Some examples of the same in sentences are −

    • This is my class and I will decide what to write here.

    • Karan won’t like you touching it since It is his suit.

    • Don’t take her brush without her permission.

    • Their life isn’t as great as they make it seem like.

    • Our yacht is grand.

    • Your marks are not satisfactory, you can do much better.

While the Weak Possessive Pronouns above act as a revealing agent of who an object or subject belongs to, the nature of this revelation is not too prominent as in the case of Absolute Possessive Pronouns.

What are Contractions?

To contract something has multiple meanings but in this case, we can consider the meaning of contract as shortening something or reducing the size of something. In this context, Contractions are words which are shortened forms of phrases, mostly Pronoun phrases.

For example, instead of it has or it is, it’s can be used. ‘It’s’ here, is therefore a contraction. Contractions have several features which will be discussed in detail but before that, let us look at Possessive Pronouns in detail.

Why are contractions important?

Contractions are used to make spoken communication easier. Noun phrases or Pronoun phrases when shortened, form Contractions. There are however various rules about their usage.

  • Contractions form a part of informal communication, be it written or be it oral.

  • Contractions are always shortened forms of Noun phrases or Pronoun phrases.

  • Contractions have an apostrophe to make the words in the phrases one.

  • Some examples of Contractions are 

    • I’ll/He’ll/She’ll instead of I will, he will and she will.

    • It’s instead of It is or it has.

    • She’s/He’s instead of she/he is or she/he has.

    • Isn’t instead of is not.

    • Should’ve/Could’ve instead of Should have/ Could have.

    • All’s instead of All is.

    • I’m instead of I am.

    • You’re, They’re instead of you are and they are.

    • You’ve instead of you have.

    • You’d, He’d, She’d, it’d instead of You/He/she/it had or You/he/she/it would.

    • Won’t, can’t, don’t instead of Will not, Cannot and do not.

    • Ma’am instead of Madame.

  • Apostrophe is the key to Contractions but all apostrophes do not hint at the word being a contraction.

  • The key to finding out if a word is a contraction or not, just try to elaborate the phrase and see if it makes sense.

Common mistakes you must avoid

These are some common mistakes you must avoid to write in grammatically correct English −

  • Do not use apostrophe in a Possessive Pronoun. For example, in the sentence, ‘It looks old for its age’, ‘its’ is an Absolute Possessive Pronoun but if you write ‘It looks old for it’s age’, the sentence will be incorrect. This is because ‘it’s’ here is a contraction which when expanded will be it is or it has and both do not make sense in this sentence.

  • Do not confuse between you’re and your. While you’re when expanded is you are, your indicates your ownership over something.


Possessive Pronouns have two types- one strong and one weak, the simplest example of each being ‘mine’ and ‘my’. Contractions are again reduced forms of phrases and they make it easier to speak in English. While Possessive Pronouns and Contractions may sound the same owing to their ‘s’ sound, you must always remember that it is never same as it’s and your is never same as you’re. Keeping in mind all the rules and tricks of grammar, you can now attempt writing grammatical error free write ups!


Q1. What is the difference between ‘Whose’ and ‘who’s’?

Ans. Whose is a possessive pronoun that makes ownership known whereas ‘who’s’ is a contraction of the phrase ‘who is’. So, you can ask ‘Whose pen is this?’ and ‘Who’s at the door?’ but not the other way around.

Q2. What are Possessive Adjectives?

Ans. Possessive determiners or weak possessive Pronouns like my, his, her are all Possessive adjectives.

Q3. When should we use ‘its’ in a sentence without an apostrophe?

Ans. All pronouns that do not need to expand to ‘pronoun + is/has’ and are a possessive pronoun can be used without an apostrophe and with an ‘s’. ‘Why are you ruining its frill?’ is an example for your question.

Updated on: 04-Jul-2023


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