The French have two ways to indicate possession (showing ownership or relations).
The first way, is by indicating the relationship, using the related person + de + the subject: “Paul’s sister” = “la soeur de Paul” (literally translates to “the sister of Paul”). This construction is the English equivalent of indicating possession by adding an apostrophe and an s.
In English, you would not say “the sister of Paul is named Alice” (la soeur de Paul s’appelle Alice), you’d translate that: “Paul’s sister is named Alice”.
The second, more commonly used way to discuss possession, would be to use a “possessive adjective”. In this case, Paul’s sister would be expressed as “his sister” = sa sœur The “sa” is a French possessive adjective.
La soeur de Paul = Paul’s sister -or- sa sœur = his sister
Other examples: his mother = sa mère
my friend (female) = mon amie*
our car = notre voiture
your (pl.) books = vos livres
IT’S NOT WHO IS DOING THE POSSESSING, IT’S WHAT IS BEING POSSESSED THAT WILL AGREE WITH GENDER AND NUMBER.
Here are possessive adjectives! (les adjectifs possessifs)
Below is a table of possessive adjectives and what they mean. Go here for a more detailed explanation.
|your (sing., familiar)||ton||ta||ton||tes|
|his, her, its||son||sa||son||ses|
|your (plur., formal)||votre||votre||votre||vos|
*Note that, before a singular noun beginning with a vowel, the masculine form is used.