Who’s or Whose?

An easy one today: when should you use who’s and whose? This is pretty straightforward, and I think most mistakes people make with them are generally typos caused by the two sounding similar. But I do notice quite a lot of mistakes with these words in people’s writing. First, let’s look at some examples of both being used correctly:

Who’s speaking?

Whose phone is this? I found it over there.

That’s the guy who’s living in the apartment opposite me.

That’s the guy whose apartment is opposite mine.

Who’s coming to visit you?

My friend, whose family are from France, is coming to visit today.

OK, I think just from looking at those you can probably get a sense for the difference, but let’s look at the grammar quickly.

Whose is the trickier one to define. It’s a pronoun or determiner, generally used to refer to an object possessed by someone, or an aspect of something. Another way to think about it is that its like the possessive form of who. Be careful though, because it’s not always used to refer to a person, e.g. Name a country whose flag contains three colours.

Who’s is actually much more straightforward: it’s always a contraction of who is. Because who and is are both such common words, there are so many different occasions in which you can use who’s that there’s no point in telling you when to use it. The simplest thing to do, if you’re not sure if you need to use who’s or whose, think about whether you can replace the word with who is. If you can, use who’s, and if you can’t, use whose!


10 thoughts on “Who’s or Whose?

  1. Whose on first?

    According to Wiktionary, ‘on’ is Cornish for ‘lamb’, so this question just might be possible in Cornish English ?by farmers gathering to dock their baby sheep.

    It’s a word in 30 languages other than English and Cornish, and in most of them it’s a function word of some kind.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Read this earlier in the day and this it is spot on. Well written. I always enjoy your posts. 😃

    Can I ask a quick question? How to you repost your pieces without losing your likes and comments? If you don’t mind answering?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks 😊. I think the easiest way to repost is to just reschedule a post. You find the one you want to repost, go to edit it, click on Publish, and then change the date and time to the current time, and it’ll appear at the top of your page and people’s readers, with everything intact.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was thinking of making a joke between “who’s and whose” as a punny thank you, but decided it would have been lame and quite frankly that’s too much thinking early on a Saturday! 😅 Thank you for answering my question; I truly appreciate it! I’ve wondered for some time and haven’t been able to find an answer. You’re awesome! 😃💫

        Liked by 1 person

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