"Su pluma es mejor que la mía."
Translation:His pen is better than mine.
This confused me, too. Both "mio" and "el mio" become "mine" in English, but Spanish alters the word to reflect its grammatical usage. Apparently "mio/a" without the article is a possessive adjective. For example, in "Este libro es mio," the word "mio" describes whose book it is. Adding an article makes "mio/a" a possessive pronoun. For example, in "El mio es rojo," the phrase "el mio" takes the place of the unstated item, which might be my paper, my car, my cup, etc. (http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/mio)
In this Duolingo sentence, "el mio" acts as a pronoun because it replaces "my pen." In case it helps you think of the word as a pronoun, notice that it starts a clause with an unstated verb: "Her pen is better than mine (is)," which is similar to "Mine is red." I hope this helps you!
(Despite having discovered this, I'm sure it'll still take me a while to use "mine" correctly and consistently in Spanish! Practice should make it more natural.)
Thank you for this. I love how you can always come to the discussions with a question about something within the example sentence and find that it has been asked and answered. Usually in a thorough manner.
fantastico! Have a lingot!
edit: lol 25 likes and no lingots given... here have 5 more.
mitaine56, I got the impression that it's plain "mía" when the word acts as an adjective (describing a stated noun, such as "pluma" in your examples), and "la mía" when the word acts as a pronoun and subject in its own right (such as "Está es la mía" or "Su pluma es mejor que la mía." --The latter sentence looks misleading, but the noun "pluma" acts as the subject of the first clause while the pronoun "la mia" acts as the subject of the second clause). In both of your examples, however, "pluma" acts as the subject, so I don't believe one would ever say "Esta pluma es la mía."
(Can anyone more proficient confirm whether or not this is correct?)
athalia2- In the dictionary, hay exemples. este libro es mío. Un amigo mío ( adjective, possessive) / a friend of mine. This pen is mine / esta pluma es la mía (pronoun, possessive). Pluma is a noun, not a pronoun and is a subject in, esta pluma es mía. After a definite article (la) mía is a possessive pronoun. In this case la mía is a complement. Go and see in reverso.net. http://www.reverso.net/translationresults.aspx?lang=FR&direction=francais-espagnol you'll see that you can say esta pluma es la mía.
Hmmm... I thought things were clear for me after reading Athalia's initial post but, well, that kind of muddied the waters yet again lol... thanks mitaine :p
Thanks, mitaine56--I got some of my terms crossed, which I hope I've now corrected. >< I checked out your link and saw the examples. Unfortunately, the site doesn't explain why "la" is used, so now I feel more confused than I was before. Do you know anyplace that better explains when to use the article "la" with "mía" and when not to? Or is it one of those things that doesn't have a rule, per se, but one has to memorize instances or exceptions?
athalia- you asked it : http://spanish.about.com/od/pronouns/a/possessive_pronouns.htm
"My one" does not mean the same as "mine." First, "mine" is not always singular as "one" is--for example, we could say "That cookie/those cookies are more burnt than mine (is/are)." Second, "my one" often sounds awkward as a replacement for "mine" unless a person means to emphasize "one" as opposed to another number. For example, "She has fewer chocolate chips in her three cookies than I have in my one (cookie)." I hope that helps!