This page was first published on the 14th of November, 2014 and last updated on the 10th of June, 2016 by Patrick Carpen.
In English, the possessive adjective stays the same whether the noun possessed is singular, plural, masculine or feminine.
In the Portuguese language however, possessive adjectives agree in gender and number with the noun possessed.
Note the use of the possessive adjective ‘my’ in the sentences below:
She is my girlfriend.
He is my friend.
These are my books.
This is my ball.
In all the above cases, the possessive adjective ‘my’ stays the same, even though the nouns changed from male (friend) to female (girlfriend) and from singular (ball) to plural (balls).
If I were to write these same sentences in Portuguese, the possessive adjective that means ‘my’ will change in each of these sentences. Take a look:
Ela e minha namorada. (She is my girlfriend.)
Ele e meu amigo. (He is my friend.)
Esses e meus livros. (These are my books.)
Esta e minha bola. (This is my ball.)
Minha is used with a singular feminine noun.
Meu is used with a singular masculine noun.
Meus is used with a plural masculine noun.
Minhas is used with a plural feminine noun.
As you can see, in some areas, Portuguese does get a bit more technical than English, but not all the time.