Mon, ma, mes; ton, ta, tes; son, sa, ses = my; your; his / her (possessive adjectives)

Look at these sentences:

Il déteste son frère.He hates his brother.

Tu as ton crayon?Do you have your pencil?

J'aime mon chienI love my dog

Jean aime ses parents.Jean loves his parents.

Note that the equivalent of 'my', 'your' or 'his/her' etc. are:

  Singular Plural
English (masc objects) (fem objects) (masc/fem)
my mon ma mes
your (tu)  ton ta tes
his/her son sa ses

Note the similarity of the forms.

These are called possessive adjectives. 

IMPORTANT: It's tempting to try to 'agree' these with the gender of the owner but only the first letter is determined by the owner (m = my; t = your, s = his/her) etc. The rest of the adjective is related to the gender and number of the thing they own

Lisa adore son frère.Lisa adores her brother.

Il équipe sa voiture d'un gyrophare.He's fitting his car with flashing (police) light.

 

More Possessive Adjectives

Notre, nos, votre, vos, leur, leurs = our, your, their (possessive adjectives)

and the more advanced

Common mistakes with mon/ma/mes, ton/ta/tes and son/sa/ses (possessive adjectives)

Using "mon" rather than "ma" with feminine nouns starting with a vowel or mute h (possessive adjectives)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Il déteste son frère.He hates his brother.
...avec sa canne dans la main.... with his cane in his hand.
Elle adore sa poupée.She loves her doll.
Il équipe sa voiture d'un gyrophare.He's fitting his car with flashing (police) light.
J'aime mon chienI love my dog
Jean aime ses parents.Jean loves his parents.
Tu as ton crayon?Do you have your pencil?

ATTENTION !


Lisa adore son frère.Lisa adores her brother.

Q&A Forum 3 questions, 11 answers

LauraB2Kwiziq community member

When to translate with the possessive as opposed to the article

Why in the case of 'he admires his cat', we use the possessive to translate - il admire son chat, when often in French we translate with the article - le, la, les.

I know this is a simple question but what is the rule when do we translate with the possessive and when do we translate with the article?

Asked 2 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Laura,

'Il admire son chat ', can mean -

He is admiring his (own) cat 

or 

He is admiring his/her (someone else's) cat 

which is a bit confusing.

You could say -

Il admire le chat de Marine/ le chat de Bernard 

to avoid such confusion.

As Chris says you use the definite articles for body parts and clothing and here is the Kwiziq lesson dealing with this topic -

https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/using-le-la-les-with-body-parts-and-clothing-definite-articles

Hope this helps!

or 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Generally, you use the possessive if you want to stress ownership of something. There are differences to English, for example when it concerns body parts, where in French you don't default to the possessive.

Do you have an example in mind which looks confusing to you?

When to translate with the possessive as opposed to the article

Why in the case of 'he admires his cat', we use the possessive to translate - il admire son chat, when often in French we translate with the article - le, la, les.

I know this is a simple question but what is the rule when do we translate with the possessive and when do we translate with the article?

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AndreaA2Kwiziq community member

How to translate the following

She loves her parent,  versus, She loves her parents. I felt it should be 'Elle aime son parent" and in the plural, " Elle aime ses parents". I cannot understand why both reverso and google keep giving me the translation with 'ses" for BOTH forms.

Asked 9 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Andrea,

‘Elle aime son parent‘ doesn’t sound right in French . You would have to specify which one -

Elle aime sa mère 

Elle aime son père

But although the word ‘parent’ does exist in French in the singular form, its use is restrictive as meaning often ‘mother or father’ or ‘relative’.

e.g.

Un enfant doit être accompagné d’un parent A child must be accompanied by a parent

C’est un parent proche d’elle = He /she is a close relative of hers

Hope this helps!

LauraKwiziq team member

Bonjour Andrea,

My guess is that they are both assuming "parent" is a typo, so they "correct" it to parents and translate that.

How to translate the following

She loves her parent,  versus, She loves her parents. I felt it should be 'Elle aime son parent" and in the plural, " Elle aime ses parents". I cannot understand why both reverso and google keep giving me the translation with 'ses" for BOTH forms.

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RonaA1Kwiziq community member

hi in the lesson there is

Asked 3 years ago
RonaA1Kwiziq community member
Il déteste son frère. He hates his brother. but how would you change this to be the french for he hates HER brother
MeghnaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Rona, The sentence would be Elle déteste son frère. The elle would indicate her. SON won't change.
PeterA1Kwiziq community member
Are you sure Son doesn't change to Sa as you are describing gender possessive, and the brother being the possessive to the Female makes Sa?
ClariceA1Kwiziq community member
"son" agree with the gender of the noun "frère". So it's right to say "Elle déteste son frère."
TerriC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
He hates her brother. The subject is he, il. the object is 'her brother'. brother is masculine, so would be 'son frère'. So if I understand rightly, He hates her brother would be Il déteste son frère.
SonalKwiziq community member
That's a good question.
DawnA2Kwiziq community member

Il déteste le frère de _________. 

(He hates the brother of __________)

hi in the lesson there is

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