Su (his/hers vs your)

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by johnydynamic, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. johnydynamic Senior Member

    Northern California
    English - US

    How does one differentiate whether "su" indicates possession by a third party (i.e. "his" or "hers), or whether it indicates possession of the person to whom the statement is directed (i.e. "your") in the absence of any context.


    "Mi casa es su casa"

    Obviously, If I walked up to a friend and said this, the context would most likely indicate the meaning to be "My house is your house", but how does one know for sure?

  2. Anemoah

    Anemoah Senior Member

    Jerez de la Frontera - Cádiz
    Andaluz y español de España
    It´s not so difficult to differentiate it. When you talk to a friend about his/her house, you would say "mi casa es TU casa", because "su" is only used in a formal context.
    If you are speakin with your boss you would say "su coche está esperando" (YOUR car is waiting)

    The context is everything in these cases.
  3. ch4rl1

    ch4rl1 Senior Member

    Spanish - Castilla y León
    That doesn't happen in Spain, as we differentiate between "tú" and "usted" which is just used in many cases.

    On the other hand you can find out the meaning by context, if someone's talking directly to you as "usted (su)", its because that person is refering to you.
  4. jasminasul

    jasminasul Senior Member

    Well in fact this structure can be ambiguous, particularly for foreigners. There is a way to specify the person you are referring to: vamos a la casa de ella, le presté el libro de usted, etc.
  5. johnydynamic Senior Member

    Northern California
    English - US
    Thank you very much.

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