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Given the phrase:

мы любим нашу семью

It seems that one can also write:

мы любим свою семью

Can I always replace нашу with свою? Is the former more formal than the latter?

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In this particular example there is a subtle difference which may matter or not depending on the context.

Мы любим нашу семью. - We altogether love our family.

Мы любим свою семью. - Each of us loves his family.

In the latter case by "us" you can imply not the members of your family, but members of your group (ethnic, religious, political etc.), each loving his particular family.

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  • When talking to a child, should I use the first sentence then?
    – Trey
    Nov 18 '17 at 19:24
  • 2
    @Trey, yes, when talking to a family member I would use "наш".
    – AlexVB
    Nov 18 '17 at 19:40

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