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Possessive pronouns
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Possessive pronouns indicate to whom an object belongs. If I say this is my pencil, the pencil apparently belongs to me. 'My' is a possessive pronoun.

English Dutch
my mijn
your je /[marked] jouw
your [formal] uw
his zijn
her haar
its zijn
our ons/onze
your jullie/je
their hun

On the next page, you can see examples of how the possessive pronouns are used.

Your: Je / jouw

If we want to stress that the object is owned by you, we use jouw instead of je. This is the only possessive pronoun with a marked and un unmarked version.

unmarked Je wekker heeft ons allemaal wakker gemaakt. Your alarm clock woke us all up.
marked Jouw wekker (niet mijn wekker) heeft ons allemaal wakker gemaakt. Your alarm clock (not my alarm clock) woke us all up.

Its: Zijn

We do not have a translation for 'its' in Dutch, we simply use zijn (his). Here, it does not matter whether the noun is neuter ('het'), feminine, or masculine (both 'de').

Het weer en zijn onvoorspelbaarheid. The weather and its unpredictability.
De politie maakte zijn cijfers openbaar. The police published its statistics.

'De politie' is actually a feminine word but the Dutch do not distinguish between masculine and femine words any more (but the Flemish still do). The Dutch sometimes make this distinction for abstract nouns (which sounds rather sophisticated). When in doubt, zijn is always correct.

Now that you know that de politie is feminine, you can also write haar:

De politie maakte haar cijfers openbaar. The police published its ('her') statistics.

Our: Ons/onze

Ons (our) is inflected according to the noun it precedes. A de-noun? gets onze, a het-noun? ons.

de auto the car onze auto our car
de auto's the cars onze autos our cars
het huis the house ons huis our house
de huizen the houses onze huizen our houses

Note that a plural noun is always a de-noun, regardless of whether its singular form takes de or het as an article. That is why singular 'het huis' becomes 'ons huis', while its plural form is onze huizen.

Plural your: Jullie or je?

For the marked form, we always use 'jullie' but when the possessive pronoun is not stressed, we can use both 'jullie' and 'je'. 'Jullie' is the most common form.

Hij heeft jullie boeken bij zich.
Not: Hij heeft je boeken bij zich.
He has brought (plural) your books.
We wachten op jullie ouders.
Not: We wachten op je ouders.
We are waiting for (plural) your parents.

You have to use 'je' if by this, you avoid two instances of 'jullie' in a row.

Hebben jullie je boeken bij je?
Not: Hebben jullie jullie boeken bij je?
Have you brought (plural) your books?
Hebben jullie je ouders gezien?
Not: Hebben jullie jullie ouders gezien?
Have you seen (plural) your parents?

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L-ahhar aggornament June 28, 2008 ::