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"Mines" is Not a Possessive Pronoun

Updated on December 21, 2013

 Okay, kids. Today we're going to talk about possessive pronouns. As you remember, a pronoun is used to replace a noun, to avoid stating the noun ad nauseum. If it is possessive, break up with it immediately. If it is a possessive pronoun, it indicates that something is owned within the sentence. The following are possessive pronouns:

mine, yours, his, hers, ours, yours, theirs

There are similar words that are possessive adjectives. Those include the following:

my, your, his, her, its, whose, our, your, their

They are similar (notice how "his" appears in both lists); however, they serve different purposes, and it is my intention on this dreary Saturday morning to distinguish between them and offer some tips. To fully understand the difference, I feel it is best to teach them at the same time. Let's begin with first person singular possessive.

Okay, we're talking about "my" vs. "mine." Both words are used when the speaker ("I") is showing ownership.

This is my Madonna CD. This Madonna CD is mine.

"My" is a possessive adjective. It modifies a noun, an object; thus, it is placed before [precedes] the noun (my ... CD). "Mine" is a possessive pronoun. It follows the 'be' verb ("is
 or "are").

This book is mine. These books are mine.

While we are here, let's look at the word "mines." This word only exists when referring to more than one physical mine (referring to a place where mineral resources are found). "This is mines" or "I'm doing mines on this topic" are not sentences. If we look at what these really mine [I mean 'mean'], we can easily detect the problem. "This is mines" is meant to mean "This object in front of me belongs to me." Why not just say, "This is my (object)." "This (object) is mine" also works.

If we think of this as "Mine is," it still makes no sense. The word before "is" has to be a word that can express an action or be acted upon. I'm not sure how else to explain this, so I'm moving on from one of my pet peeves.

Second person singular possessive involve "your" and "yours." 'You' are now claiming ownership of the item, but the same rule applies.

This is your book. This book is yours.

Third person singular possessive inevitably messes up some people. When 'he,' 'she,' or a gender-neutral noun owns something, the following are used:

his, her, its, whose, his, hers

I have the repeated 'his' there intentionally. It is the only word in this sub-division which performs double duty. If he owns something, it is his. If she owns something, it is hers. If a gender-neutral noun owns something, the word "its" is used. Forgive the gender stereotypes for a moment (We'll discuss sexist language later.).   

This is his football. That is her diary. The company sold its building.

For a discussion of "whose," see "Hoo, Witch, and Dat."

All of these pronouns appear before a noun and are thus.... (you remember?)... possessive adjectives. Give yourself a hug.

Keeping the same nouns... The football is his. The diary is hers.

Notice that there is nothing for gender-neutral in possessive pronouns. You would not say "The building is its." It just does not make sense. Trust me.

We're almost there!

First person plural possessive involves "our" and "ours." 'We' own something.

This is our wedding album. The wedding album is ours.

If a collective 'you' own something, "your" and "yours" step up to the plate.

Is this your class? This class must be yours.

Finally, if more than one "he" or "she" or a combination of both own something, the oft-confused "their" and "theirs" come into play.

The team, along with their fans, enjoyed themselves at the ballgame.

Have you seen Joan and John? This dinner set is theirs. (This is their dinner set.)

Okay, one extra inning. Thanks for playing so far.

These words/phrases are often confused: its, it's, your, you're, their, there, and they're. (I hear the collective groan.) I will use capitals to set them off as examples.

The dog ate out of ITS bowl. - possessive

IT'S a rainy day. - It is; contraction

Is this YOUR knife? - possessive

YOU'RE such a cute couple. - You are; contraction.

THEIR assignment gave everyone in the class a headache. - possessive

I left my assignment over THERE. - location

THEY'RE regretting procrastinating. - They are; contraction

I think I covered everything I wanted to say and then some. Go out there and possess life.



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    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Possessive pronouns should never use apostrophes, which may be the manner in which the word "mine's" is used or implied by the word "mines" when the writer is unsure of correct usage.

      There is another possibility, because "mines" is used in African American Vernacular English, which is not Standard American Usage, and, therefore, not grammatical within the standard usage, but accepted in the vernacular.

      Did that make any sense, or did I confuse the issue further?

    • profile image

      Chloe 4 years ago

      If you say, "No, that is not my phone, mine is over on that table," is it still correct grammar?

    • Matt Cogswell profile image

      Matt Cogswell 4 years ago

      Yes, once you get past the comma splice. :) You can say, "That is not my phone; mine is over on that table." Or, you could simply use two separate sentences and join them with a period.

    • profile image

      Damian 10 months ago

      What about the same example of matt in plural.."those are not my books, mines are over on that it still correct grammar? Or we should add the apostrophes? Like..mine´s are over on that table.

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