Using preposition de to express possession

In Spanish, the preposition "de" is used to express that something belongs to someone. It is a very different construction to the English equivalent using an apostrophe: 's. 

Have a look at these examples to see how it works:

La casa de Lucía.
Lucía's house.

El dormitorio de mi hermana.
My sister's bedroom.

Los zapatos de mamá.
Mum's shoes.

Los amigos de Carlota.
Carlota's friends.

As you can see, in Spanish the word order is different to the English.

We name the possession first, and then the possessor, e.g "la casa" (possession) "de" (of) "Lucía" (who possesses), literally "The house of Lucía".

Remember that if the article "el" comes after "de" you need to contract the two words to "del":

El cuaderno del estudiante.
The student's notebook.

but

La pulsera de la niña.
The girl's bracelet.

The other main difference with English is the presence of the definite articles el/la/los/las before the possession, these are omitted in English.
 

Los zapatos de mamá.
Mum's shoes.

Notice how the article los is used in "los zapatos", while in English there is no article "mum's shoes".
 
Just like in English we can create phrases for when there is a chain of possession, for example:
 

Las llaves del coche de Carlos.
Carlos' car keys.

 

La mujer del hermano de Sofía.
Sofía's brother's wife.

Important note:
When we talk about a things that are located in/at a place, in Spanish we still use the preposition "de" as if we were saying that that thing belongs to that place, while in English the place becomes an adjective, and there is no apostrophe. For example:
 

Las sillas del jardín son muy útiles.
The garden chairs are very useful.

 

Me gusta la mesa de la cocina.
I like the kitchen table.

 
To learn about other ways to express possession, see:
 

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

La mujer del hermano de Sofía.
Sofía's brother's wife.


El dormitorio de mi hermana.
My sister's bedroom.


Las llaves del coche de Carlos.
Carlos' car keys.


La casa de Lucía.
Lucía's house.


Las sillas del jardín son muy útiles.
The garden chairs are very useful.


El cuaderno del estudiante.
The student's notebook.


Me gusta la mesa de la cocina.
I like the kitchen table.


Los amigos de Carlota.
Carlota's friends.


La pulsera de la niña.
The girl's bracelet.


Los zapatos de mamá.
Mum's shoes.


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