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Where are you at? (1 Beginner–10 Fluent)

There are plenty of interesting options for our accommodation. It will most likely be a countryside house near Tavira.

I haven't booked it yet because I want to get a better idea of the group's composition (how many couples/singles) and your preferences before I do so. That will for instance help me understand how big a house we might need.

I look forward to soon talking to you about this and much more. Até breve, p

Where are you at? (1 Beginner–10 Fluent)

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Portuguese Possessive Pronouns and Determiners

Portuguese possessive pronouns and determiners indicate possession. In English, these are words like myyourhis, her, our, their (possessive determiners) and mineyourshis, hersours, theirs (possessive pronouns).

Both possessive pronouns and determiners look exactly the same in Portuguese. However, possessive determiners precede the noun they qualify, whereas possessive pronouns replace the noun altogether and thus stand alone.

Here’s an example:

Possessive determiners (precede the noun)
O meu carro é novo em folha. 
My car is brand new.

Possessive pronouns (stand-alone)
Aquele carro ali é meu.
That car over there is mine.

What’s more, Portuguese possessives agree in gender and number with the thing possessed (and not with the possessor):

O teu relógio é elegante. (o relógio)
Your watch is elegant.

A tua camisa está engelhada. (a camisa)
Your shirt is wrinkled.

 Let’s look into Portuguese possessives in greater detail.

Reading tips! Learn more about gender and number in Portuguese:

Gender of Portuguese Words: A Guide to Masculine-to-Feminine Spelling Patterns
Forming the Plural in Portuguese: Singular-to-Plural Conversion Patterns to Keep an Eye On

Portuguese possessive determiners

Possessive determiners precede the noun they qualify and are normally preceded by a definite article:

Masculine singularFeminine singularMasculine pluralFeminine plural
myo meu amigoa minha amigaos meus amigosas minhas amigas
youro teu amigoa tua amigaos teus amigosas tuas amigas
his/her *; your (formal)o seu amigoa sua amigaos seus amigosas suas amigas
ouro nosso amigoa nossa amigaos nossos amigosas nossas amigas
youro vosso amigoa vossa amigaas vossas amigasos vossos amigos
their *o seu amigoa sua amigaos seus amigosas suas amigas

* Refer to the “3-person de-possessives” below

Here’re a few examples where it is clear that these determiners agree in gender and number with the possessed things:

Trouxeste os nossos livros?
Did you bring our books?

Gostei muito de conhecer os teus pais.
It was a pleasure to meet your parents.

Não sei onde pus as minhas lentes.
I don’t know where I put my lenses.

We often skip the possessive adjective when the relationship between the possessor and the possessed is implicit or obvious:

Vim de carro.
I came in my car.

A Joana falou ao telefone com a prima do Brasil.
Joana spoke on the phone with her cousin from Brazil.

Veste as calças!
Put your trousers on!

Portuguese possessive pronouns

Portuguese possessive pronouns replace the noun they refer to standing therefore alone. 

Masculine singularFeminine singularMasculine pluralFeminine plural
mine(o) meu(a) minha(os) meus(as) minhas
yours(o) teu(a) tua(os) teus (as) tuas
his/hers*; yours (formal)(o) seu (a) sua(os) seus(as) suas
ours(o) nosso(a) nossa(os) nossos(as) nossas
yours(o) vosso (a) vossa(as) vossas (os) vossos 
theirs*(o) seu(a) sua(os) seus(as) suas

* Refer to the “3-person de-possessives” below

Notice how possessive pronouns, like possessive determiners, agree in gender and number with the noun they refer to and replace:

A minha guitarra soa melhor do que a tua.
My guitar sounds better than yours.

Os meus pais estão bem. E os teus?
My parents are well. What about yours?

Estas maçãs não são más, mas eu prefiro as nossas.
These apples are not bad but I prefer ours.

Now, in conjunction with the verb ser, possessive pronouns don’t require the preceding definite article (in this case, the article is optional and acts only as a reinforcement):

Aquele carro ali é (o) meu.
That car over there is mine.

Essas malas são (as) nossas.
Those suitcases are ours.

3-person de-possessives: dele(s), dela(s)

The possessives seu/sua/seus/suas can refer to the 2-person singular formal (você), 3-person singular (ele/ela), or 3-person plural (eles/elas). Thus, their usage often gives rise to confusion as to whom they refer to.

Instead, we tend to use de-possessives when referring to the 3-person (singular and plural): 

(de + ele)
(de + ela)
(de + eles)
(de + elas)

Contrarily to the possessives covered above, 3-person de-possessives agree in gender and number with the possessor, not the possessed (as his/her/their do).

Also, they came after the possessed thing, not before. Here a few examples:

Já vi a casa dele.
I have already seen his house.

Ainda não conheceste a mãe dela?
Haven’t you met her mother yet?

Gosto mais da cultura deles do que da nossa.
I like their culture better than ours.

One last thing. 

Some verbs are often followed by the particle de, for instance, gostar de. Thus, dele/dela/deles/delas can be a mere contraction between de and an object pronoun, which has nothing to do with de-possessives.

Here’re a couple of examples:

Eu gosto dele. (gostar de) 
I like him. 

Tu precisas deles. (precisar de)
You need them.

Reading tips! If you’ve enjoyed learning about Portuguese possessive pronouns, you might want to read this one as well: Portuguese Demonstrative Pronouns and Determiners.

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Where are you at? (1 Beginner–10 Fluent)

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