French Grammar Explained /

Possessive adjectives I

You probably own lots of things in life, some big, some small.
Mainly small things...
You may own a pencil, a dog, a cell phone or an airplane.
I still wish I had a dog...
To show that you own something, you use words such as the following in English:
my book
your dog
We call these words possessive, since they indicate possession. Logical, right?
In French, the possessive form has to change to match the word it's describing. We'll look at mon (my), ton (your) and also votre (your when you adress several people or when you use the formal way to adress one person) first.
je my
mon livre → my book mes livres → my books
ma valise → my suitcase mes valises → my suitcases
tu your
ton livre → your book tes livres → your books
ta valise → your suitcase tes valises → your suitcases
vous your
votre grand-père → your grandfather vos grands-pères → your grandfathers
votre grand-mère → your grandmother vos grands-mères → your grandmothers
So mon is for masculine words, ma is for feminine?
Yes, well observed! However...
Note that feminine words that start with a vowel or silent h use the masculine form mon instead of ma, and ton instead of ta.
une adresse
mon adresse
une école
ton école
Je parle français parce que mon père est français.
I speak French because my father is French.
Mon amie Lucie est canadienne.
My friend Lucie is Canadian.
Ta soeur a 15 ans.
Your sister is 15 (years old).
Je suis fier de ma fille.
I am proud of my daughter.
Wait, so why does it change to mon and ton when it's actually feminine?
It's for the flow of pronunciation. Ma adresse just wouldn't sound as good as mon adresse connected by the n in mon.
Oooh so it's a bit like an in English. It's an apple, not a apple.
That's right! See, French and English aren't that dissimilar after all.
Hmm I don't know about that...
For grammar lovers:
Words that mark ownership are called possessives. When they come in front of a noun (e.g. my life) they are called possessive adjectives.
As all adjectives in French, possessive adjectives must change to match the noun they refer to. In geeky grammar terms, this is called agreement. Adjectives must agree in gender and number.