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Possessive adjectives

Young kids use possessive adjectives all the time, although they probably don’t realise it when they say:

That’s my toy, Tommy!

‘My’ is known as a possessive adjective. It is an adjective because it adds some information about the noun ‘toy’ - it’s not just any toy, it’s ‘my’ toy.

A possessive adjective can also refer to an entire phrase (not just to a single noun), like in this case:

Possessive adjectives

The possessive adjective is ‘my’. It refers to the entire phrase ‘five favourite foods’. When you put together the possessive adjective and the rest of the phrase you get something known as a noun phrase. If you’re trying to analyse the sentence, you could ask yourself something like:

Q: What am I talking about when I talk about ‘my’ in this sentence?

A: I am talking about my ‘five favourite foods’.

In this case, because the verb ‘to eat’ is a transitive verb it takes an object that it acts on. In this sentence, the object of the verb is the entire noun phrase ‘five favourite foods’. You could work this out by asking yourself a question like this:

Q: What am I trying to eat every week?

A: I am trying to eat my ‘five favourite foods’.