Possessive adjectives are words that say to whom or to what something belongs. In English we have seven possessive adjectives:
In French there are considerably more of these words. You might remember that all French nouns are either masculine or feminine: The upshot of this is that all possessive adjectives in French have to agree with the gender of the noun.
But here's where it gets interesting for English speakers:
You might have noticed that "his" and "her" are exactly the same in the above sentences. In French the possessive adjective doesn't change to reflect the gender of the subject (him or her). So "his father" and "her father" end up being exactly the same: "Son père".
The gender of the possessive adjective instead changes depending on the gender of the noun. In that example, père (father) is quite obviously a masculine noun. Mère (mother) is a feminine noun.
In addition to recognizing when you're talking about a feminine object or a masculine object, you also need to pay attention to whether the object in question begins with a vowel. Since the feminine possessive adjectives (ma, ta, sa) end in vowels, it would be quite awkward to have to say a word beginning with a vowel right afterwards. Therefore all nouns that start with a vowel will use the masculine word, regardless of what gender they actually are!
|your (sing., fam.)||ton||ta||ton||tes|
|his, her, its||son||sa||son||ses|
|your (plur., form)||votre||votre||votre||vos|
You might have noticed that there's no "its" in this list. This is because French possessive adjectives relate to the noun, and every noun has a gender. There's no need for the gender-neutral "its". In that way you might say that the French is a little easier than the English? Hmm!
Play audio mon père = my father
Play audio ma mère = my mother
Play audio mes parents = my parents
Play audio ton père = your father
Play audio ta mère = your mother
Play audio tes parents = your parents
Play audio votre père = your father
Play audio votre mère = your mother
Play audio vos parents = your parents
Play audio son père = his/her father
Play audio sa mère = his/her mother
Play audio ses parents = his/her parents
Play audio leur père = their father
Play audio leur mère = their mother
Play audio leurs parents = their parents