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When shoud I use long-form possesive adjectives and pronouns?

I found on another website that using short vs. long form is equivalent to saying "your dog" (tu perro) or "that dog of yours" (el perro tuyo [is that proper grammar?]), yet I would rarely, if ever, say such a thing in English (unless I'm not thinking of something obvious). The only time I can think of using the long forms would be to answer a question about what something belongs to, such as "los zapatos es míos" if someone asked "whose shoes are these?". Maybe that's just it? Any tips would be welcome. Thank you.

Edit: Thank you sohippie. I think that was the point I was missing - that it doesn't sound awkward in Spanish. Does it come down to formal vs. informal then (and I'd assume long-form would be more formal if so)? ... And thanks smarterthanyoda for clarifying this. Cheers.

July 16, 2012



The long and short form is interchangeable, although I think it's more common to hear the short form used. But really, there is no difference between saying "tu perro" and "el perro tuyo"--think of both as translating to "your dog." Yes, "el perro tuyo" literally translates to something like "that dog of yours," but that usually sounds awkward in English, so it may not be a particularly useful way to think about it. However, we do use that construction occasionally... For example, if you're at a friend's house and ask "Where is that dog of yours?"

Also as a side note: "los zapatos son míos"


Re: your edit

It's not a question of formal or informal. It's a question of connotation. "El perro tuyo" places a little bit more emphasis on the fact that the dog belongs to you. "Tu perro" leaves the emphasis on the dog and the "tu" only clarifies which dog it is.

It takes some practice picking up these subtle differences, but they'll start making sense if you pay attention to the context in which people use the different structures.

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