TNs, U14: Possessives 1 (Possessive Adjectives, Euphony, Femme & Fille)
Possessives Match What is Owned
In English, possessive adjectives (e.g. "his/her") match the owner. However, in French, they match the thing being owned.
Consider the example of "her lion". The French translation is son lion, because lion is masculine and both the lion and the woman are singular. Note that if we hear just son lion, we can't tell if the lion is owned by a man or woman. It's ambiguous without more context. If two people or more own a lion, then it is leur lion.
Because of this ambiguity, the convention is that the object belongs to the subject: Elle aime son lion = "She likes her lion"; otherwise "She likes his lion" would turn to Elle aime son lion à lui.
Possessives have different forms that agree with four things: the number of owners, the number of things owned, the gender of the thing owned, and the grammatical person of the owner (e.g. "his" versus "my").
For one owner, the possessive adjectives are:
|Person||English||Masculine Singular||Feminine Singular||Plural|
For multiple owners, genders don't matter:
|Person||English||Singular Owned||Plural Owned|
|2nd||your (formal singular or plural)||votre||vos|
The plural second-person possessive adjectives, votre and vos, should be used when addressing someone formally with vous.
|Owner||Masc. Singular Owned||Fem. Singular Owned|
|My||Mon père — My father||Ma mère — My mother|
|Your||Ton livre — Your book||Ta lettre — Your letter|
|His/Her/Its||Son oiseau — His/Her/its bird||Sa vache — His/Her/Its cow|
|Our||Notre riz — Our rice||Notre soupe — Our soup|
|Your||Votre sac — Your bag||Votre cravate — Your tie|
|Their||Leur chien — Their dog||Leur fille — Their daughter|
|Owner||Masc. or Fem. Plural Owned|
|My||Mes parents (m) — My parents|
|Your||Tes lettres (f) — Your letters|
|His/Her/Its||Ses animaux (m) — His/Her/Its animals|
|Our||Nos tomates (f) — Our tomatoes|
|Your||Vos vêtements (m) — Your clothes|
|Their||Leurs enfants (m) — Their children|
Euphony in Possessives
For the sake of euphony, all singular feminine possessives switch to their masculine forms when followed by a vowel sound.
|Person||Masculine||Feminine||Feminine + Vowel Sound|
|1st||mon chat||ma robe||mon eau|
|2nd||ton chat||ta robe||ton eau|
|3rd||son chat||sa robe||son eau|
Femme and Fille
Femme can mean "woman" or "wife" and fille can mean "girl" or "daughter" depending on the context. For example, when femme and fille are preceded by a possessive adjective, then they translate to "wife" and "daughter", respectively.
- Une fille et une femme sont dans le restaurant — A girl and a woman are in the restaurant. (Not: "A daughter and a wife are in the restaurant.")
- Ma fille — My daughter. (Not: "My girl".)
- Ta femme — Your wife. (Not: "Your woman".)
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