7. possessive pronouns

In opposite to Spanish, French and English there is no difference in the form between the possessive pronoun and the the possessive adjective in Portuguese.

language adjective pronoun
Portuguese:A minha casa é branca. A minha é branca.
Italian:La mia casa é bianca. La mia é bianca.
Spanish: Mi casa es blanca. La mía es blanca.
French: Ma maison é blanche. La mienne est blanche.
German: Mein Haus ist weiß. Meines ist weiß.
English: Ma house is white. Mine is white..

It is striking that in the case that the adjective doesn't differ from the pronoun the possessive pronoun / adjective is preceded by an article. Perhaps there is a reason for that, perhaps it is pure coincidence. It is furthermore striking that the geographically and historically most distant languages, Portuguese and Italian use an article in this context and the languages with almost the same historical background and which until today are spoken in bordering or even the same regions like Spanish and Portuguese differ from each other.

The preceding article can be left out in brasilian portuguese, although the preceding article is the more common structure, as a little research with google shows.

If we compare "Estou em minha casa" and und "Estou na minha casa", em + a = na, see 4.1.1, we get the following results. (Don't forget the quotations marks if you put the sentences in google, otherwise you will get all the pages where the words show up in any order.)

Estou em minha casa. 322000 results
I am in my house.
Estou na minha casa. 1.350000 results
I am in my house.

The table below shows all the possessive adjectives / pronouns. To você and vocês belong the possessive adjective / pronouns of the 3rd person singular / plural, what is not very astonishing, because você and vocês require always the third person singular.

singular plural
maskuline feminine maskuline feminine
eumeuminhameus minhas
tu teutuateus tuas
vocêseusuaseus seus
eleseusuaseus suas
elaseu suaseus suas
nósnossonossanossos nossas
vocêsseusuaseus suas
elesseusuaseus suas
elasseusuaseus suas

In the examples we put a definite article in front of the possessive adjectives / pronouns.

O meu irmão é muito bonito.
The my brother is very beautiful.
My brother is a good looking man.
A minha irmã é muita bonita.
The my sister is very beautiful.
My sister is a beautiful woman.
Não acho a minha caneta.
Not find the my pencil.
I can't find my pencil.
Os seus carros são todos vermelhos.
The their cars are all red.
All their cars are red.
Gosto do teu.
Like of the yours.
I like yours..
Não o podemos fazer com a tua.
Not that can do with the yours.
We can't do that with yours.
As suas são muito belas.
The his are very beautiful.
His are very beautiful. .

As we can deduce from the table seu, sua, seus and suas are ambiguous. The table below shows all four different meanings.

exemple possible meaning gender / number pronous substituted by a noun
Esse é seu.

This is his. 3rd singular, masculine It is his car.
This is hers 3rd singular, feminine It is her car.
This is theirs. 3rd plural, masculine It is their car.
This is theirs. 3rd plurall, feminine It is their car.

Possible ambiguities can be avoided by using the form de + stressed personal pronoun, see 6.1.2. (The construction doesn't work in English, but is perfect in Portuguese.

Esse é dela. => ~This is of her.
Esse é dele. => ~ This is of him.
Esse é delas. => ~ This is of them.
Esse é deles. => ~ This is of them.

Ele não aceitou seu desprezo. He couldn't support his / her / their / their contempt.
Ele não aceitou o desprezo dela. He couldn't support her your contempt.
Ele não aceitou o desprezo dele. He couldn't support his contempt.
Ele não aceitou o desprezo delas. He couldn't support their your contempt.
Ele não aceitou o desprezo deles. He couldn't support their contempt.

The general rule that você or vocês requires the 3rd person singular / plural, for example in the case of a reflexive pronoun, "Você lava-se", "You wash yourself", is not valid in the case of dele / dela / deles / delas. In this case it is de você or de vocês.

Seu carro está com o pneu furado. His / Her tyre is perforated. => His / her car has a flat tyre.
Your tyre is perforated. => Your car has a flat tyre.
O carro de você está com o pneu furado. Your tyre is perforated. => Your car has a flat tyre.
O carro de vocês está com o pneu furado. Your tyre is perforated. => Your car has a flat tyre.

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