His, Hers, Mine, Yours, Ours and Theirs: Part 1


Yesterday we talked about the Possessive A and now it’s time to follow up with a similar grammar entity – the personal pronoun.

In English these are fairly simple – my (mine), your(s), his, hers, ours and theirs.

Spanish likewise, mio(s)/mia(s), nuestro(s)/nuestra(s), etcetera.

Romanian is a little more complicated of course ;)

Let’s start off with the words for “my”, which vary by gender and number:

Masculine Feminine
Sing Plural Sing Plural
meu mei mea mele

.
Again, exactly like the Possessive A, the noun being modified determines which form of “my” you use.

Ex:

Fiul meu – My (masculine, singular) son.
Fiica mea – My (feminine, singular) daughter.
Fiii mei – My (plural, masculine) children.
Fiicele mele – My (plural feminine) daughters.

You’ll notice that the nouns here are taking the “objective” case declination, that is to say “The + word” form.

Literally saying fiul meu is the equivalent to “the son (of) mine”.

Now let’s do our and your (informal):

Masculine Feminine
Sing Plural Sing Plural
our nostru nostri noastra noastre
your (informal) tau tai ta tale

.
See? It’s not so hard. It follows exactly along with the Possessive A and so therefore the following is possible:

You: Aici este casa mea. (Here is my house)
Friend: Da, e a ta? (Oh, it’s yours?)

You: Aici sunt pantofii mei
Friend: Da, sunt ai tai?

You: Aici sunt cartile noastre.
Friend: Da, sunt ale noastre?

You: Aici este cainele meu.
Friend: Da, e al tau?

There are a couple of variants on how to say “theirs” and “his/hers” depending on whether you’re using the formal or the informal.

When addressing someone directly, the forms are very simple: “dumnevoastra” for everything regardless of gender/number.

Ex:

You: Unde este bagajul dumnevoastra?

You: Unde sunt bagajele dumnevoastra?

But that’s only for when you’re directly addressing someone.

Masculine Feminine
Sing Plural Sing Plural
his (informal) lui lor lui lor
hers (informal) ei lor ei lor
his/hers (formal) sau sai sa sale

.
That’s a little confusing so let’s break it down.

If you want to say “it is her car” and she is the kind of person you’d use the “tu” or informal form with, you’d say: Este masina ei.

You might recognize this form as how female names (ending in A) change in Romanian, such as Este masina Elenei for “It is Elena’s car”.

If on the other hand, the person is a “dumnevoastra” kind of person, you’d say: Este masina sa.

To say something is “theirs”, there are two forms:

For all informal groups (“tu” people), you always say lor. (There is another form “ele” but I’ll discuss that later as it’s fairly rare).

For formal groups, it’s exactly the same as above with sau/sa/sai/sale.

Therefore:

Este masina sa – It is his/her (formal) car.
Sunt masinile sale – They are his/her/their cars.

Este masina lui – It is his (informal) car.
Este masina ei – It is her (informal) car.
Sunt masinile lor – They are their (informal) cars.

Remember: as always, neuter words are masculine in the singular and feminine in the plural.

Este pixul meu – It is my (masculine) pen.
Sunt pixurile mele – They are my (feminine) pens.

Ok let’s mix and match!

Un frate al meu – One of my brothers.
Doi frati ai mei – Two of my brothers.
Un frate al nostru – One of our brothers.
Un frate al tau – One of your brothers.

Este prietena mea – It is my girlfriend.
Este tatal prietenei mele – It is my girlfriend’s father.

Woah, I pulled a fast one on you, no? Indeed I did. Let’s rewind a minute and see what’s going on.

Technically speaking there’s something called “pronominal adjectives” and have to do the fact that one noun is modifying the other one here (father OF my girlfriend) and so the “my” part becomes part of the receiving end of the action, rather than part of the “doing” end.

It’s quite complicated so we’ll get into this later. The good news is the masculine forms remain the same as what you just learned, even in these cases:

Este prietenul meu – It is my boyfriend.
Este tatal prietenului meu – It is my boyfriend’s father.

Therefore for now just concentrate on matching the “normal” gender and number versions of the regular possessive pronouns.

Furthermore there’s some tricky word order that goes on sometimes:

Este masina mea – It is my car.
Este masina mea verde – It is my green car.
Este noua mea masina verde – It is my new green car.

Definitely get into that later.

AND NOW YOU KNOW!

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10 Responses »

  1. Dumneavoastra – DUMNEAVOÁSTRĂ pron. pers. Pronume de politețe pentru persoana a 2-a (singular și plural). [Var.: (pop.) dumnevoástră pron. pers.] – Domnia + voastră.
    Please check DEX when you are not sure – http://dexonline.ro/

    You: Unde este bagajul dumneavoastra?
    You: Unde sunt bagajele dumneavoastra?

    • Adriana: Hey Sam, you wrote an awesome and informative article on some tedious grammar stuff that I know because I spoke the language my entire life but I just happened to notice you got literally one letter wrong.

      Me: Thanks! I’ll fix it :D

  2. Hei Sam,

    doar ce am descoperit blogul tau si sunt foarte impresionata, esti grozav! Continui lectura, in tot cazul :).

    In caz ca te ajuta, as avea o observatie la urmatoarele: daca vrei sa traduci cu maxima acuratete “a brother of mine”, il traduci cu “unul din fratii mei”. Suna si ceva mai frumos in romana.

    deci avem:

    One of my brothers. – unul din fratii mei
    Two of my brothers – doi dintre fratii mei
    One of our brothers – unul din fratii nostri
    One of your brothers – unul din fratii tai/vostri

    As traduce exemplele din prima coloana prin:

    Un frate al meu – a brother of mine
    Doi frati ai mei – two brothers of mine
    Un frate al nostru – a brother of ours
    Un frate al tau – a brother of yours

  3. Hi.
    How would you translate an ambiguous sentence like:
    John had dinner with his boss and his son..
    1. meaning it’s John’s son
    2. meaning it’s the son of the boss..

    regards,
    Stefan

  4. I all the time emailed this web site post page to all my friends, as if like to read it after
    that my friends will too.

  5. An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I believe that you need to write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo matter but usually people do not speak
    about these topics. To the next! Best wishes!
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  6. Incredible! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s
    on a completely different subject but it has pretty much the
    same layout and design. Wonderful choice of colors!

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  1. Fun With Adjectives « I'm More Romanian Than You!

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