Like some other classes of words, possessive pronouns depend on the gender of the word. Each personal pronoun has its equivalent possessive pronoun.
Here is the list of possessive pronouns:
I – meu, minha, meus, minhas
you – seu, sua, seus, suas
he/she/it – seu, sua, seus, suas (see explanation below)
we – nosso, nossa, nossos, nossas
you – vosso, vossa, vossos, vossas (formal)
they – seus, suas
The use of each one depends on the gender of the noun, not on the gender of the subject.
Ex: I am a man and I have a house. Casa (the word for house in portuguese) is a female word, so we use the pronoun minha: minha casa é bonita (my house is beautiful). If I have two sisters, we say minhas: minhas irmãs são mais velhas que eu (my sisters are older than me).
See other examples:
- meu amigo: my friend (amigo is a male word);
- minha amiga: my friend (amiga is a female word);
- meu carro: my car;
- nosso filho: our son;
- nossa casa: our house;
- meus filhos: our children (filhos is a male word);
- minhas filhas: our children (filhas is a female word);
SEU X SUA X SEUS X SUAS
You may have noticed that the pronouns seu, sua, seus, suas are used both for you and he/she/it. It is that way, and it may be confusing sometimes. What will determine which one is being referred is the context. However, it can be still confusing. See the example below:
- Meu pai vendeu o seu carro. (My father sold his/your car)
The most likely possibility in this case is that my father sold his own car, but it may have sold your car too. 🙂
To avoid misunderstandings, there are alternative ways to say these:
you: teu, tua, teus, tuas;
he/she/it: dele, dela;
they: deles, delas;
The pronouns used for you (teu, tua, teus, tuas) follow the rules mentioned above. That is, the change according to the noun and come before it. On the other hand, dele/dela/deles/delas change according to the subject and come after the noun.
See the difference between both cases mentioned earlier:
- Meu pai vendeu o teu carro (My father sold your car);
- Meu pai vendeu o carro dele (My father sold his car);
- Minha mãe vendeu o teu carro (My mother sold you car);
- Minha mãe vendeu o carro dela (My mother sold her car);
- Meus pais venderam a tua casa (My parents sold your house);
- Meus pais venderam a casa deles (My parents sold their house);
These forms are most used in Southern states of Brazil, mainly Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.
AND HOW ABOUT ‘VOSSO’?
The pronouns mentioned for you in the plural are rarely used in conversations. Alternatively, it is used “de vocês” instead, and it goes after the noun. See example:
- Irei visitar a vossa família semana que vem / Irei visitar a família de vocês semana que vem (I’m going to visit your family next week)
I hope this content was useful to you. If you have any questions, please leave a comment.