Como falo em inglês: Não é nosso; é deles

By Ana | Podcast Inglês Online

Apr 12
Como falo em inglês Não é nosso; é deles

Hey, what’s up? Nesse episódio do podcast Inglês Online eu falo sobre as palavras ours, theirs, yours, etc.


Hi, everyone. How’s it going? Today we have a new episode of the inglesonline podcast. Please subscribe to this podcast using the Podcasts app for iPhone or iPad, or listen to the episodes using the Inglesonline Android app.

So this week I wrote a tip on the blog about using the words ours and theirs. This is the second time actually that I’ve written on this topic, so if you haven’t read these articles yet… I suggest you do so! Here’s tip #1 and then tip #2. OK, now that you’re all caught up I think you’re ready for this podcast. Like I said on this week’s article, I think the words mine, yours, his, hers, ours and theirs aren’t nearly as well known by Brazilians as they could be. This set of words is usually presented once in class… and then students do a few exercises, you know, fill-in-the-blanks, and these words then start showing in dialogues that students will only hear a couple of times, in general. So, of course, there usually isn’t enough exposure to ours, or theirs, or hers… and quite frankly it’s pretty rare that I hear people in Brazil, on any English level, use these words.

So for today’s podcast I thought I’d use them again in several examples and maybe inspire you guys to notice how often words like mine, yours, theirs, hers and ours are used in everyday conversation. So let’s start with a pretty simple example: imagine you’re playing a silly little game with a six or seven-year-old kid. You say “My shirt is white. What color is yours?” And the kid replies “Mine is yellow.” Mine is yellow. That means “My shirt is yellow”. Instead of saying “My shirt is yellow”, the kid says “Mine is yellow”, since you both know you’re talking about the kid’s shirt. This kid could also say “This yellow shirt is mine“. And he or she could look at you and say “You are a friend of mine“. So the examples I just gave using the word “mine” are very common ways in which not only mine, but also yours, his, hers, ours and theirs are used.

So let’s say you just checked into a hotel room with your family and the cleaning lady has just finished tidying it up for the new guests – that is, you and your family. So just as you and your family are sort of stepping into the room and checking out your surroundings you start to notice a few objects laying around, and they’re definitely not yours. These are not your objects. They are definitely not yours. So you say to the cleaning lady “Excuse me, this mp3 player isn’t ours“. She replies that there was a family staying in this room and they left just a couple of hours ago. So you say “I see. So the player is probably theirs“. And then your son finds a stack of books under the bed, and he says “Look, a stack of books! These aren’t ours. They must be theirs“.

What is your son saying? These books aren’t ours. They don’t belong to us. These are not our books. These aren’t ours. They must belong to the people who stayed in this room before us. These books must be theirs, ’cause they aren’t ours. So, the mp3 player? Not ours. It’s probably theirs. The books? Not ours. They must be theirs.

grasshopperHere’s a different situation: you’re discussing your next vacation with a friend of yours. Yeah, one of your friends. Jennifer, a friend of yours. So let’s say that both you and your friend are millionaires and each of you owns a castle. Yours is in… Santa Catarina, let’s say; and hers is in… Bahia. So your castle is in Santa Catarina and Jennifer’s castle is in Bahia. And of course, your castle actually belongs to you and your family; and hers actually belongs to her and her family. So you say “I don’t know if we’re going to spend time at our castle this year. We had a grasshopper infestation there last month and it’s still not under control”

Jennifer says “Oh, what a shame! Our castle is completely protected from that kind of infestation – we’ve hired a company called “Grasshopper protection”. And you, in turn, say “Ours isn’t, unfortunately. We really need that protection, though. We have a large veggie garden; our food is all locally produced”. And Jennifer says “Wow, that’s wonderful. Ours isn’t. Ours comes mostly from supermarkets.” So let’s say that you’re talking to your other friend Mary about the conversation you had earlier with Jennifer. You say “Mary, my family and I own a castle in Santa Catarina; Jennifer and her family own a castle in Bahia. Ours is not protected against infestations; theirs is.” Let me say that again: Ours isn’t protected against infestations; theirs is. And how do you spell “theirs”?  T-h-e-i-r-s.

What else can you tell Mary about the castles? You say “There’s a veggie garden behind the castle where all our food comes from. So, with regards to food, ours is produced locally. Theirs comes from supermarkets“. Again: ours is produced locally; theirs comes from supermarkets. What does “ours” mean in the sentence I just said? It means “Our food”. And what does “theirs” mean in that sentence? It means “their food”.

Regarding the castles, ours isn’t protected; theirs is. Regarding the food, ours is local; theirs isn’t. So please let me know in the comments how much you know about these words. Got any examples? Questions? Let us know and talk to you next time!

Key expressions

  • yours
  • theirs
  • ours



you’re all caught up = você está atualizado

checking out your surroundings = reconhecendo a área

veggie garden = horta (de verduras, etc)

our food is locally produced = nossa comida é produzida localmente

Denis 10/05/2013

Oi Ana, tudo bem? É a primeira vez que entro em seu site, estou amando sinceramente. Li algumas dicas que você há algum tempo de como falar inglês: As dicas essenciais. Amei. Faz dois anos que curso inglês, mas ainda não sou fluente, pois não tenho tanto tempo para estudar. Mas agora irei entrar no seu site todos os dias, ele tem muitas coisas interessantes, e irei começar fazer faculdade de Letras no 2º semestre (inglês-inglês), então, você irá me ajudar muito.
Parabéns, você faz um ótimo trabalho.

MARIA DENISE 23/04/2013


jennifer 15/04/2013

Hi,Ana!It is a shame that that castle you mencioned in the podcast don’t be mine.I’d like to be that Jennifer.And you’re right .Sometimes I got searching for the best way to say this or that thing and I just can’t remember these words.Kisses!!!

    Ana 17/04/2013

    hehe… you’d like to own a castle? How about a castle by the beach?

Renato 15/04/2013

Hi Ana!!

Thanks for the podcast!!’I must be honest…I have to use English every day but I never use these expressions. I think one of the reasons for that is the fact that most of people that are learning English try to say complete sentences, like “My house was cleaned yesterday”. I could have used “Mine was cleaned yesterday”, but for some reason it sounds strange to me. Anyway, I’ll try to use these expressions for now on ( is this correct??? for now on ). Thanks again and congratulations!

    Ana 17/04/2013

    Yes, Renato, very few people here in Brazil use them, although the’re very common in native conversation.
    It sounds strange because you’re not familiar with it yet :) Familiarity comes from exposure, so instead of just trying to use them, amp up your listening and exposure to English, and things like mine and ours will become very familiar. You may even start saying them without realizing (that’s what happened to me). Comprehensible listening is a painless, natural way of acquiring a language, and it must work cause it’s a major component of babies’learning process.

Fernando 13/04/2013

congratulations, good podcast

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