Possessives, as their name suggests, indicate possession: your car,
her sweater, mine, mine! As with demonstratives, interrogatives
and indefinites, they exist both as determiners and as pronouns.
As usual, French has more forms than English, because of the need to
indicate Gender and Number.
Mon, ma, mes my
Ton, ta, tes your (familiar)
Son, sa, ses his, her
Mon professeur a perdu ses clefs.
My teacher has lost her/his keys.
Notre, nos our
Votre, vos your (formal)
Leur, leurs their
Nos actions ont perdu un peu de leur valeur.
Our shares have lost some of their value.
Ton, ta, tes (your) are used when speaking to a friend
or family member, while votre, vos (your) are reserved
for more formal occasions or when someone is not known to you.
Unlike English, which distinguishes between the sexes when indicating
possession (his towel, her towel), French only has one
form (sa serviette), so you have to rely on the context
to tell whether his or hers is meant.
Note however that English and French work the same way in the plural:
their towels doesn't tell you if the owners are male or
female, just like leurs serviettes.
So when translating sa peau, you must be careful not
to understand the feminine sa as indicating a female possessor
(her). It's only the noun that is feminine and sa peau
is either his skin or her skin or its
skin. This is a common problem for anglophones.
le sien, la sienne, les siens, les siennes (his/hers/its)
le leur, la leur, les leurs theirs
le mien, etc. mine
le nôtre, etc. ours
le tien, etc. yours
le vôtre, etc. yours
Le serpent possède une colonne vertébrale
comme la nôtre.
... like ours.
Nous avons réalisé
nos transactions en dollars américains, dit le président,
alors que les leurs ont été faites en dollars
... our transactions ... theirs were carried out in Canadian