"The jacket is his."
Translation:La chaqueta es suya.
I wrote "La chaqueta es suya a él," putting the "a él" at the end to clarify that the jacket is "his" and not "yours," which I now understand is incorrect. But I'm wondering how we're supposed to indicate that the jacket is "his" rather than "yours." Would context always clear up who "suya" is referring to, or are there instances where further clarification is needed?
Context is usually enough. If you're talking in person, you can also point/nod towards/gesture at.
In the rare case it's still unclear, you can say "de él." It's not common, but would be understood (I've used it--actually I think in my case it was "de ellos"). It's more likely you'd use the person in question's name, if it's just one person, since the whole point is clarification (es la chaqueta de José, for example).
I don't think you can just tack it on to the end of the sentence. (In the case I'm remembering, there was a long enough pause to be clear that there was confusion, so it became its own little phrase.) But you could repeat the sentence with a different wording to clarify . . . I'm finding myself wanting to use "pertenecer a" (to belong to) to make it abundantly clear: "La chaqueta pertenece a él."
In a practical setting, it might go something like this: "La chaqueta es suya." "¿De quién?" "De José."
Or "La chaqueta es suya." (pause, look of confusion) "Pertenece a José."
I agree, it's only by context that we know the referent for suya and there's no context here. Since suya agrees with the noun it modifies, it's confusing for English speakers, as you note, and only context will help us. Another way to indicate is through the use of mío, tuyo, suyo, etc. as pronouns by adding el, la, los, or las in front. So if the sentence is a question: Pregunta: ¿La chaqueta/chamarra es suya? Respuesta: No, tengo la mía. We have more context to work with here: Suya is probably "yours" because the person responded with la mía, "mine." But if the person responds with No, él tiene la suya, then the suya means "his." etc
That's exactly what I thought making these exercises, but it was about ten years ago when I read about using the definite articles before words like tuya, suya and so on. Maybe something has changed since then, I hope the native Spanish speakers see this topic and make it clear.
Words derived from Greek tend to be masculine, which is words ending in ma. I have kept a list of Spanish word oddities ever since I started studying it. :) So far, I've come up with the following words that are masculine but may not look it:
El activista (the activist) • El anfitrión (the host) • El ala (the wing) • El artista (the artist) • El atleta (the athelete) • El avión (the plane) • El clima (the climate) * El colecciónista (the collector) * El colega (the collegue/coworker) * El dentista (the denist) * El día (the day) • El dilema (the dilema) • El drama (the drama) • El idioma (the language) • El mapa (the map) • El panorama (the view) • El periodista (the journalist) • El planeta (the planet) • El problema (the problem) • El programa (the program) • El psiquiatra (the psychiatrist) • El síntoma (the symptom) • El sistema (the system) • El sofá (the sofa) • El socialista (the socialist) • El tema (the theme or subject) • El terapeuta (the therapist)
Sorry I couldn't get this to be a list down the page so I used • to separate them. Hope this helps.
But ala is feminine. It's like agua. If a feminine word starts with a stressed "a" or "ha," you say "el" instead of "la," because "la ala" and "la agua" are awkward to say (kind of like how in English we say "an" instead of "a" before nouns that start with a vowel, for ease of pronunciation).
So, even though it's "el ala," it'd be "las alas," "unas alas," or even "el ala roja." Likewise, "el agua fría."
Hacha (ax) is another word like this.
See https://www.spanishdict.com/translate/ala which also explains this, states that its feminine, and gives some examples sentences.
Thanks. I hadn't had a chance to get back to that word to check the plural.
That word goes on another of my lists:
Feminine nouns with masculine articles:
El águila (the eagle)
El agua (the water)
El ala (the wing)
El alma (the soul)
El ave (the bird)
BTW, I took el avión off this list and added it to the one above. One of these days I'll get all this straight. LOL ;)
...I just realized you might have been asking about "suya." It needs to match the gender of the item (chaqueta, which is feminine), not the person.
Suya, suyo, suyas, and suyos can all mean his, hers, or theirs (or even yours if using usted or ustedes). They agree with the item in number and gender, not the person.
If it comes before the noun, use the short version: su chaqueta, mi chaqueta.
If it's not followed by a noun, use the long version. "La chaqueta es suya." "La chaqueta es mía."
It's like the difference between my and mine, or your and yours. "My jacket." "Your jacket." ← short versions
But "The jacket is mine," (not my). "The jacket is yours."
(Also, "tú" with the accent is not possessive. The possessive form has no accent.)
This happens to me sometimes too. If I go back and double, sometimes triple check my spelling, I've made some silly typo in a different word. I especially mess up i, u, & o because they're next to eachother. For instamce I mean to type 'in' or 'on' but instead it says 'un'. Also m & n. And s & d. Especially when using the keyboard on my phone! So when I get something srong and it doesnt make sense why I got it wrong, its nearly always a missed typo.
The short form is used when it comes directly before the noun: su chaqueta. When it comes after, or there is no noun, use the long form: La chaqueta es suya.
It's like the difference between "my" and "mine." We'd say "my jacket," (not "mine jacket") but "the jacket is mine" (not "the jacket is my"). Ditto for her and hers. "Her jacket" (not "hers jacket") but "the jacket is hers" (not "the jacket is her").
La chaqueta is feminine. You have to try to think in Spanish, in which the referent is to the grammatical gender of the noun not the person wearing the noun. It's a common mistake when coming to languages with grammatical gender from a language that does not have it.
Suyo is for more respected people like bosses or for gentlemen like senor or señora, and tuyo is informal. But sometimes in duolingo there's no context on whether the person is respected or of higher standing, so that's one just kind of in the wind here. If ya wanna, talk to the duolingo peeps and they might fix it
Since Jim has done a good job of explaining the "la de él" discrepancy, I will tackle the much simpler tuya vs suya question, along with some further explanation for the future.
Possessive pronouns in Spanish follow the same rules as adjectives - they have to agree in number and gender with the things they modify. Thus "mine" can be expressed as mía, mío, mías, or míos, depending on whether the owned thing is fem/masc, singular or plural. (The dog is mine = "El perro es mío," while The houses are mine = "Las casas son mías.") As with possessive pronouns serving as adjectives, the conjugation for he/she/it is the same as the one for you(formal). So if you're using "usted," then yeah, "suya" means "your." But it can also mean "his" or "hers" in a context where there is no "usted."
La chaqueta es mía = The jacket is mine
La chaqueta es tuya = The jacket is yours (informal "tú")
La chaqueta es suya = The jacket is his (requires context)
La chaqueta es suya = The jacket is hers (requires context)
La chaqueta es suya = The jacket is yours (formal "usted")
La chaqueta es suya = The jacket is theirs (requires context)
La chaqueta es nuestra = The jacket is ours
I'd be happy to get corrected on this as I'm just a student, but I think "la de él" can be used to mean "his" when the possession is already known.
"¿Esta es su chaqueta? No, la de él es roja."
"Is this his jacket?" "No, his is red"
Based on my understanding as stated above, I think that "de él" can be used for "his" in answers to this sentence, but I don't think "la de él" can be used because we are just introducing "la chaqueta"
Hints are automatically generated without regard to the rest of the sentence.
Every result that you see is correct for some context, and it is up to you to determine whether any option offered makes sense for how it needs to be used.
Lawlesspanish often has decent info: https://www.lawlessspanish.com/grammar/pronouns/possessive-pronouns/ Here's another place that provides an explanation: https://www.realfastspanish.com/podcast/possessive-pronouns-in-spanish
You will usually know who it's referring to by context. If you've been talking about Juan, then use "su," it will probably be Juan's.
When there is ambiguity, you can point (or clarify by using the name), but I feel I should note not everyone points with fingers. I think it's regional, but in some Latin American countries they point with their lips. That took me some time to get used to (I kept wondering why they would kiss the air...lol), but it's also quite convenient once you do get used to it.
"Tuya" means "yours," not "his," so it doesn't work for this sentence.
"Suya" can mean his, hers, its, or formal "yours," but "tuya" always means "yours" (and always when speaking to one person only).
When suya means his or hers, there is no distinction for formality. It is the only option for this sentence.
The possessive suya is following the gender of the noun 'chaqueta' which is feminine.
The short form possessives - mi, mis, tu, tus, su, sus don't follow gender but the long form possessives do:
mio, mia, mios mias - mine, my
tuyo, tuya, tuyos, tuyas - your, yours (familiar, tú)
suyo, suya, suyos, suyas, his, hers, their, theirs your, yours (formal, usted)
nuestro, nuestra, nuestros, nuestras, our, ours
vuestro, vuestra, vuestros, vuestras - your, yours, (familiar plural)
Here's a link to a website that shows how possessive pronouns work in Romance Languages: http://www.nativlang.com/romance-languages/grammar/pronouns-subject.php Scroll down to possessive pronoun. It provides an example in Italian: "suo 'her' matches the masculine noun figlio 'son' in suo figlio 'her son'." Spanish works the same way and so in 'su hijo' the referent for su can only be known from context because it's masc on account of the masc noun hijo. Thus su hijo can be her son, his son, your son, their son (see spicy's comment above for the paradigm). Since English doesn't work this way, it can cause confusion for English speakers. For more fun, here's a link for what chaqueta can mean as a double entendre in some parts of Mexico: https://baselang.com/blog/vocabulary/mexican-slang/ Scroll down to chamarra (# 36).