"Ele lê suas cartas."
Translation:He reads his letters.
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No difference with only "suas cartas"? When do you most likely add the "as" here? I mean its like saying 'the your letters' which would be redundant as 'your' would already specify which letters. Or ...it is ok to specify more with 'as' to point out wich which of your letters.
I also opened up this discussion wondering what the difference was between "suas cartas" and "as suas cartas." In Italian you always have to put both the article and the possessive adjective. It doesn't get translated as "the your letters." It's just the way it needs to be said in Italian.
- Seu/teu = your (masculine singular words)
- Sua/tua = your (feminine singular words)
- Seus, suas, teus, tuas are the plural forms.
- Seu/seus = his
- Sua/suas = her
- Teu, tua, teus, tuas are used for "tu"(you)
- Seu, sua, seus, suas for "você" (you).
The possessives for "você" are used more often.
"suas" is used because "cartas" is a feminine word: "as cartas" (the letters). If "jornais" was used instead of 'cartas', then the answer would be "Ele lê SEUS jornais": "os jornais" (the newspapers).
It might be helpful to remember that: - seu(s): is used for masculine words - sua(s): is used for feminine words In both cases you add the "s" if the possessed object is plural.
It's not possible to determine that from the given sentence. That's a typical case of ambiguity.
From the correct grammatical point of view, you would write "Ele lê TUAS cartas" in order to express 'your' letters (2nd person). There is no confusion here.
However when using "SUAS cartas" it opens the possibility that we are referring to "VOCÊ" (informal 'you'), which is a treatment pronoun widely used in Brazil in place of the subject pronoun "TU" (the 2nd person subject pronoun).
In the Portuguese grammar, whenever you use a treatment pronoun you are suppose to conjugate the verb using the 3rd person.
That's the reason we have the ambiguity.
For example, the sentence "Ele lê suas cartas" can mean: 1. He reads your letters. (because the speaker might be referring to the 2nd person of the conversation as "VOCÊ" rather than "TU", which enforces the usage of "SUAS")
- He reads his letters. (the speaker is talking about the 3rd person possessed letters, hence "SUAS" is properly used)
Usually the best way to solve this problem is to be more specific like: "Ele lê suas PRÓPRIAS cartas" (He reads his own letters) In this case, there is no doubt that the letters belong to the subject of the sentence.
(sorry it became long - it's a very interesting question that I think deserves a detailed explanation)
The possessive pronoun "suas" matches the gender and number of the thing possessed ("cartas", so feminine plural), not the possessor (so we don't know whether they're male or female).
Portuguese also has possessive pronouns that match the possessor, so you could say "Ele lê as cartas dela" if you wanted to make it clear that the letters were hers and not his.
I would think that is wrong too. The "his letters" in the sentence says that the letters belong to the subject ("He"). From Portuguese grammar perspective, by adding the definite article "as" to "suas cartas" you would be saying that the letters belong to the listener. So, the English translation for "Ele lê as suas cartas" would become "He reads your letters".
In Portuguese, how can you tell when someone says "Her" and/or "Him"?