Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Tell Me, Which One Is Your Dictionary?


SCENARIO
Imagine you are with a relative, a friend or a colleague. Maybe you are studying Spanish in a group and sharing a table. There are several books and other objects on the table. At some point, the other person points to a pile of dictionaries and says to you something like: "tell me, which one is your dictionary?".

In Spanish, he/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿cuál es tu diccionario?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿cuál es su diccionario?


OUR TIP
The question is an invitation for you to indicate which one is your dictionary. When indicating things which belong to you, you do not need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question. Your main concern should be about saying something which will help you identify your dictionary. It could be said that you could identify your dictionary by simply pointing to it. However, in some cases, that may not be feasible and you may have to provide some additional information.

Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • Mi* diccionario es este (my dictionary is this one- touching it/ pointing to it);
  • Mi* diccionario es ese (my dictionary is that one- touching it/ pointing to it);
  • Mi* diccionario es aquel (my dictionary is that one over there- pointing to it);
  • Mi* diccionario es el más grande (my dictionary is the biggest one);
  • Mi* diccionario es el más pequeño (my dictionary is the smallest one);
  • Mi* diccionario es el rojo (my dictionary is the red one);
  • Mi* diccionario es el que está al lado de mis libros (my dictionary is the one beside my books);


Now you should practise replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿cuál es tu diccionario?

*Please see grammar below

Grammar-Possessives
Spanish possessives can be either adjectives or pronouns. In either case, Spanish possessive adjectives and pronouns are used to indicate relationships of 'belonging' between possessions and their corresponding possessors.

    1. Possessive Pronouns
Possessive pronouns indicate a relationship of 'belonging' between a possessor and the corresponding possession(s). Key features of Spanish possessive pronouns are:
  • Spanish possessive pronouns must agree in gender and number with the possessions they replace/ stand for.
  • Possessive pronouns are preceded either by:
    • A definite article (el/ la/ los/ las)
    • The verb “ser


Singular Possession
Plural Possessions
Possession Gender
Mine
mío
míos
Masculine
mía
mías
Feminine
Yours (familiar)*
tuyo
tuyos
Masculine
tuya
tuyas
Feminine
Yours (formal)*
suyo
suyos**
Masculine
suya
suyas**
Feminine
His/ Hers
suyo
suyos**
Masculine
suya
suyas**
Feminine
Ours
nuestro***
nuestros
Masculine
nuestra***
nuestras
Feminine
Yours (familiar)****
vuestro***
vuestros
Masculine
vuestra***
vuestras
Feminine
Yours (formal)****
suyo***
suyos
Masculine
suya***
suyas
Feminine
Theirs
suyo***
suyos
Masculine
suya***
suyas
Feminine
Table 1 - Possessive Pronouns

  • Some examples of the use of possessive pronouns are:
    • Este libro es mío (this book is mine);
    • Esa foto es muy bonita, pero la mía lo es más (that photo is very nice, but mine is more so);
    • Esos libros son tuyos, ¿no? (those books are yours- you singular, aren't they?- familiar);
    • Esos cuadernos son muy bonitos, pero los tuyos lo son más (those notebooks are very nice, but yours are - you singular more so- familiar);
    • Ese libro es suyo, ¿no? (that book is yours- you singular, isn't it?- formal);
    • Ese cuaderno es muy bonito, pero el suyo lo es más (that notebook is very nice, but yours- you singular is more so- formal);
    • Pedro también tiene libros . Estos son los nuestros y aquellos son los suyos (Pedro also has books. These are ours and those are his);
    • Ese libro es nuestro, ¿no? (that book is ours, isn't it?);
    • Ese cuaderno es muy bonito, pero el nuestro lo es más (that notebook is very nice, but ours is more so);
    • Ese libro es vuestro, ¿no? (that book is yours- you plural, isn't it?- familiar);
    • Ese cuaderno es muy bonito, pero el nuestro lo es más (that notebook is very nice, but ours- singular is more so);
    • Esos libros son suyos, ¿no? (those books are yours- you plural, aren't they?- formal);
    • Esos cuadernos son muy bonitos, pero los suyos lo son más (those notebooks are very nice, but yours- you plural are more so- formal);

*NB All forms of possessive pronouns in these table rows stand for/ replace possessions belonging to “you”- singular.
**NB These plural forms (“suyos”/ “suyas”) stand for multiple possessions belonging to a single owner (you- singular or him/ her)
***NB These singular forms (“suyo”/ “suya”/ “vuestro”/ “vuestra”) stand for a single possession belonging to/ shared between multiple owners (you- plural, us or they)
****NB All forms of possessive pronouns in these table rows stand for/ replace possessions belonging to “you”- plural.

    2. Possessive Adjectives
Possessive adjectives indicate a relationship of 'belonging' between a possessor and the corresponding possession(s). Key features of Spanish possessive adjectives are:
  • Spanish possessive adjectives must agree in gender and number with the possession they accompany.
  • When placed before the possession (perhaps the more common arrangement), possessive adjectives take the following forms:


Singular Possession
Plural Possessions
Possession Gender
My
mi
mis
Masculine/ Feminine
Your (familiar)*
tu
tus
Masculine/ Feminine
Your (formal)*
su
sus**
Masculine/ Feminine
His/ Her
su
sus**
Masculine/ Feminine
Our
nuestro***
nuestros
Masculine
nuestra***
nuestras
Feminine
Your (familiar)****
vuestro***
vuestros
Masculine
vuestra***
vuestras
Feminine
Your (formal)****
su***
sus
Masculine/ Feminine
Their
su***
sus
Masculine/ Feminine
Table 2 - Possessive Adjectives (i)

  • Some examples of the use of this form of possessive adjectives are:
    • Mi amigo se llama Pedro (my friend's name is Pedro);
    • Mis amigos están aquí (my friends are here);
    • Tu amigo se llama Pedro, ¿no? (your friend's name is Pedro, isn't it- familiar);
    • Tus amigos están ahí, ¿verdad? (your friends are there, aren't they- familiar);
    • Usted y su amigo son españoles, ¿no? (you and your friend are Spanish, aren't you?- formal);
    • Usted y sus amigos son españoles, ¿no? (you and your friends are Spanish, aren't you?- formal);
    • Pedro y sus amigas son españoles, ¿no? (Pedro and his female friends are Spanish, aren't they?
    • Pedro y sus amigos son españoles, ¿no? (Pedro and his friends are Spanish, aren't they?);
    • Nuestro amigo Antonio es español (our friend Antonio is Spanish);
    • Nuestra amiga Lucía es española (our friend Lucia is Spanish);
    • Nuestros amigos son españoles (our friends are Spanish);
    • Vuestro amigo Antonio es español, ¿no? (your friend Antonio is Spanish, isn't he?- talking to more than one person/ familiar);
    • Vuestra amiga Lucía es española, ¿no? (your friend Lucia is Spanish, isn't she?- talking to more than one person/ familiar);
    • Ustedes y su amigo son españoles, ¿no? (you- plural and your friend are Spanish, aren't you?- formal);
    • Ustedes y su amiga son españoles, ¿no? (you- plural and your female friend are Spanish, aren't you?- formal);
    • John y Ann dicen que su casa es muy antigua (John and Ann say that their house is very old);
    • John y Ann dicen que sus amigos viven en España (John and Ann say that their friends live in Spain);

*NB All forms of possessive adjectives in these table rows accompany possessions belonging to “you”- singular.
**NB These plural forms (“sus”) accompany multiple possessions belonging to a single owner (you- singular or him/ her)
***NB These singular forms (“su”/ “vuestro”/ “vuestra”) accompany a single possession belonging to/ shared between multiple owners (you- plural, us or they)
****NB All forms of possessive pronouns in these table rows accompany possessions belonging to “you”- plural.

  • When placed after the possession*, possessive adjectives take the same form as possessive pronouns, as follows:


Singular Possession
Plural Possessions
Possession Gender
My
mío
míos
Masculine
mía
mías
Feminine
Your (familiar)**
tuyo
tuyos
Masculine
tuya
tuyas
Feminine
Your (formal)**
suyo
suyos***
Masculine
suya
suyas***
Feminine
His/ Her
suyo
suyos***
Masculine
suya
suyas***
Feminine
Our
nuestro****
nuestros
Masculine
nuestra****
nuestras
Feminine
Your (familiar)*****
vuestro****
vuestros
Masculine
vuestra****
vuestras
Feminine
Your (formal)*****
suyo****
suyos
Masculine
suya****
suyas
Feminine
Their
suyo****
suyos
Masculine
suya****
suyas
Feminine
Table 3 - Possessive Adjectives (ii)

  • Some examples of the use of this form of possessive adjectives are:
    • Ese amigo mío es Pedro (that friend of mine is Pedro);
    • Esa amiga mía es Ana (that friend of mine is Ana);
    • Ese amigo tuyo es Pedro, ¿no? (that friend of yours is Pedro, isn't he?- familiar);
    • Esa amigo tuya es Ana, ¿no? (that friend of yours is Ana, isn't she? - familiar);
    • Ese amigo suyo es Pedro, ¿no? (that friend of yours is Pedro, isn't he?- formal);
    • Esa amigo suya es Ana, ¿no? (that friend of yours is Ana, isn't she? - formal);
    • Antonio y unos amigos suyos vinieron a vernos (Antonio and some friends of his came to see us);
    • Antonio y unas amigas suyas vinieron a vernos (Antonio and some female friends of his came to see us);
    • Antonio y unos amigos nuestros vinieron a vernos (Antonio and some friends of ours came to see us);
    • Antonio y unas amigas nuestras vinieron a vernos (Antonio and some female friends of ours came to see us);
    • John y Ann son amigos vuestros, ¿no? (John and Ann are friends of yours, aren't they?- familiar);
    • Lucy y Ann son amigas vuestras, ¿no? (Lucy and Ann are friends of yours, aren't they?- familiar);
    • Los padres de Antonio y unos amigos suyos vinieron a vernos (Antonio's parents and some friends of theirs came to see us);
    • Los padres de Antonio y unas amigas suyas vinieron a vernos (Antonio's parents and some female friends of theirs came to see us);

*NB In this arrangement, the possession is usually preceded by a demonstrative, an indefinite article, verb “ser”, etc.
**NB All forms of possessive adjectives in these table rows accompany possessions belonging to “you”- singular.
***NB These plural forms (“suyos”/ “suyas”) accompany multiple possessions belonging to a single owner (you- singular or him/ her)
****NB These singular forms (“suyo”/ “suya”/ “vuestro”/ “vuestra”) accompany single possessions belonging to/ shared between multiple owners (you- plural, us or they)
*****NB All forms of possessive pronouns in these table rows accompany possessions belonging to “you”- plural.

Now you should practise the use of possessives with some examples of your own.

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