I am getting confused with 'you' as a possessive pronoun, could we always say 'yours' for any context?

Possessive Pronoun of She:

• Janice is a friend of mine

• I am one of Janice’s friends

• I am a friend of Janice’s (I am a friend of hers)

Possessive Pronoun of You:

• You are a friend of mine

• I am one of your friends

• I am a friend of yours


  1. Could we say: I am one of your's friends??

  2. It is said that for 'you' as singular, we have to use a possessive pronoun 'your' instead of 'yours'. Anyone could show us (the ELL's friends) the difference?

2 Answers 2


The word your already denotes the possessive. In English, possessive adjectives do not need 's at the end, the adjective does that job along with identifying the owner.

I am my own friend.
I am your friend.
I am his/her/its friend.
I am our friend. (Doesn't make much sense, but it's grammatical and shows the pattern.)
I am your friend.

To keep things confusing for our English Language Learner friends, English does use a plain s (usually) at the end of the possessive pronouns to change them from being adjectives to nouns.

Whose friend are you?
I am mine.
I am yours.
I am his/hers/its.
I am ours. (And again, nonsensical, but grammatical.)
I am yours.

In short, your's or his's is never grammatical, nor would yours's or hers's be.

Regarding your second question, the common English pronouns are:

  • Person: Subject, Object, Possessive Adjective (aka Personal Pronoun or Personal Determiner), Possessive Pronoun
  • 1st person singular: I, me, my, mine
  • 2nd person singular: you, you, your, yours
  • 3rd person singular: he/she/it, him/her/it, his/her/its, his/hers/its
  • 1st person plural: we, us, our, ours
  • 2nd person plural: you, you, your, yours
  • 3rd person plural: they, them, their, theirs

Note: This is in no way intended to be a full list of English pronouns; there are a fair many more. (Ex: This, that, these, someone, etc) However, the others are either treated as normal nouns when making possessive forms or they don't have sensible possessive forms at all. These are the ones that seem to be causing you confusion.

Without researching the words' etymologies, that's pretty much all I can tell you. English doesn't distinguish between singular and plural in the second person at all, and those are the pronouns we use. The Wikipedia article for this explains some of the history, but it doesn't include any real rationale for why the current forms are what they are.

  • +1! However I did add another question on my original post as I really am confused with 'you' as singular to be 'your' instead of 'yours' as a possessive pronoun.
    – pupil
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 2:53

I do not understand your second question. It is said by whom?

It doesn't matter if you is singular or plural, the possessive pronoun is always yours.

What changes is the reflexive pronoun, yourself (singular) or yourselves (plural).

I cannot think of any other exception, would you mind giving an example?

BTW: Your is an adjective, not a pronoun, thus it is used alongside a noun. Yours is a pronoun, and as such replaces the noun.

Edit: I'll explain a bit more about this last distinction.

Possessive adjectives/determiners:

My, your, her/his/its, our, your, their

Possessive pronouns:

Mine, yours, hers/his, ours, yours, theirs


I like his cat but I do not like yours.

Which means exactly the same as:

I like his cat but I do not like your cat.

  • I beg your pardon? It is defined both as a possessive adjective and a possessive determiner. Edit: great, comment deleted...
    – cwbrd
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 9:44
  • I compared the use of possessive pronoun of 'She' and 'You'. Please notice the second sentence of each. That really makes me confused.
    – pupil
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 11:01
  • Please note that in the sentences you wrote, you only used possessive pronouns in the last ones (yours and hers). I edited my answered. There are only 7 possessive pronouns, which I have listed above.
    – cwbrd
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 11:53

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