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Whose vs Who's Understanding the Difference

Whose vs. Who’s

From Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Who’s is a contraction of “who is” (‘Who’s there?’) or “who has” (‘Who’s got the time?’).
In this case, as for it’s and its, the apostrophe stands for missing letters—not possession. 

Whose shows possession (“Whose shoes are these?”).  Remember that possessive adjectives like myyourhisher, and its do not have ‘s, and neither does whose.

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Who’s is a contraction of who is or who has. It can be found at the beginning of a question:

Who’s [=who is] at the door?

Who’s [=who has] got the remote?

as well as with who functioning as a relative pronoun

a teacher who’s [=who is] admired by everyone

a teacher who’s [=who has] inspired thousands of students.

Whose is a possessive adjective meaning “of or relating to whom or which.” Grammatically speaking, we use the term possessive to refer to relationships beyond simple ownership. As with other words of possession, it can also be used to express association, agency, or the receiving of an action:

Whose sunglasses are these?

Jake, whose sister is an archeologist, is considering studying the subject as well.

The firefighter, whose brave actions saved dozens, was presented with a medal.

They live in a port city whose economy relies heavily on fishing.

a novel whose publication paved the way for a burgeoning genre

I ran into Mark, whose house I painted last year.

a building whose demolition had been in the works for years

The most well-known demonstration of possessive whose might be in the title of the comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway?


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2 thoughts on “Whose vs. Who’s”

  1. It seems odd how the word “whose” can be used in conjunction with inanimate structures. Evidently, it’s correct, but it seems strange to me, something I try to avoid.

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