Written Expression: Possessive (Skill 22)

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Previous Skill: Subject and Object Pronoun (Skill 21)


Possessive adjectives and pronouns both show who or what “owns” a noun. However, possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns do not have the same function, and these two kinds of possessives can be confused on the TOEFL test. A possessive adjective describes a noun: it must be accompanied by a noun. A possessive pronoun takes the place of a noun: it cannot be accompanied by a noun.


Notice that in the first example the possessive adjective her is accompanied by the noun television. In the second example, the possessive pronoun hers is not accompanied by a noun.

The following chart outlines the possessives and their uses.




These examples show the types of errors that are possible with possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns on the TOEFL test.

The students turned in theirs* papers.

I would like to borrow your*.

  • In the first example, the possessive pronoun theirs is incorrect because it is accompanied by the noun papers, and a possessive pronoun cannot be accompanied by a noun. The possessive adjective their is needed in the first example. 
  • In the second example, the possessive adjective your is incorrect because it is not accompanied by a noun, and a possessive adjective must be accompanied by a noun. The possessive pronoun yours is needed in the second example.
EXERCISE 22: Each of the following sentences contains at least one possessive pronoun or adjective. Circle the possessives in these sentences. Then indicate if the sentences are correct (C) or incorrect (I).

1. She cut hers hair recently. (I)

    Analysis:
  • Hers should be her.
2. We will take our car or theirs. (C)

3. Please lend me yours notes from the history lecture. (I)

    Analysis:
  • Yours should be your
 4. I like his ideas and hers. (C)

5. The tree fell on its side during the storm. (C)

6. My desk is located near hers. (C)

7. Theirs suggestion was unrealistic. (I)

    Analysis:
  • Theirs should be their
8. Our appointment is just after your. (I)

    Analysis:
  • your should be yours
9. Your friends and my friends are coming to our party. (C)

10. You don’t have yours gloves with you, but I have mine. (I)

     Analysis:
  • yours should be your
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Next Skill 23: Pronoun Reference



1 comments:

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