Who’s vs Whose

Today while browsing the net, I stumbled on a website that had a huge collection of quotes and read “Guess, who’s quote is this?” Well, who’s and whose are commonly confused words in English. Both these words have same pronunciation but completely different meaning.

Consider these sentences:

“Who’s there?”
“Who’s the manager?”
“He’s the man who’s in charge of the department.”

In each of these sentences we were saying:

“Who is there”?
“Who is the manager”?
“He’s the man who is in charge of the department.”

So, here we see that “who’s” is the contraction of “who is”. Now, take a look at this sentence:

“Parenting a child who’s been mentally tortured is difficult”. Here, “who’s” is being used as the contraction of who has.

Now, take a look at the sentence ““Guess, who’s quote is this?” Now, substitute “ who’s” in this construction with “who is” and “who has”, and see does it make any sense?

The correct word to be used here is “whose” as in “Guess, whose quote is this?”

Whose is a relative pronoun that indicates “belonging to someone”. In other words it shows possession. For instance,

“Whose car is this?”
“Jack is the person whose car is parked in the garage”

5 comments

  • Ta for sharing this in such a simple way!

  • Learned an English lesson, thanks. 🙂

  • hey anand, hearing from you after a long time, thanks for your comments.

  • Who’s is becoming very common and is wisely accepted outside of pedantic circles and the possessive form of who, especiall when it is at the start of the sentence. Can’t fight evolution.

  • Hi Pauly,

    Thanks for your comment 🙂 It’s true that there are a few people who think sticking to grammar rules is totally uncool….as a result they make their own rules. Have a look at this sentence: Hows you? Received your letter just now! Writing Hows u instead of How are you? is becoming very popular with youngsters as well as adults and the worst part is people are accepting this kind of usage…like u said “can’t fight evolution”

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