I'm trying to rewrite the sentence below to indicate ownership by using possessive adjectives. I caught the first error with the verb ('son'), but I don't understand the adjective error. In my mind it translates as: "It's their ('sus') tape recorder," so why is the singular ('su') adjective correct? Am I confusing something in agreement?

Sentence to rewrite: "Ellos compran una grabadora." My Error: "Son sus grabadora." Correction: "Es su grabadora."

  • 1
    I think the original sentence would have been Ellos compran una grabadora. The noun is feminine, so the article has to match: una, not un. // To choose between sus and su: try not to translate word for word, because that might make you go from "their" to "sus" which would be incorrect here. Instead, start with grabadora and notice that it is singular -- that tells you the possessive adjective needs to be singular too: su. In other words, "their" might be expressed as "su" or "sus" depending on whether the noun is singular or plural. May 27, 2019 at 5:28
  • Corrected. Thanks
    – commonone
    May 27, 2019 at 20:56

3 Answers 3


So the possesive constructions goes like this:

Verb "ser" , possesive pronoun, subject

Possesive pronuns are


Mi, Mis,

Singuar Your

Tu, Tus

Their and formal and plural Your

su, sus


nuestro,nuestros |nuestra, nuestras

So the construction is

Es(The present conjugation of "ser" of the single noun for "grabadora")
su(The single possesive pronoun for "their")


There is only one grabadora, hence you use the singular form.


The confusion you are experiencing revolves around what the subject actually is for the sentence. The word "grabadora" is the noun in your sentence, and "su" is a possessive adjective. The possessive adjective is describing the noun, which is singular. Both a possessive and descriptive adjective will reflect the gender and quantity of the subject noun.

  • 1
    I think this is a bit confusing as you seem to suggest that the recorder is the subject of the sentence whereas I think it is some unspecified plural group of people. Would you like to edit your question to clarify?
    – mdewey
    May 27, 2019 at 10:18

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