Communication Skills

JS Tip 134: From the Writing Workshops: Whose and Who’s

Our friend Curtis Thomas asked “When should I use whose as opposed to who’s? I think the answer is a simple one, but I have not been able to figure it out.”

Excellent question.

“Who’s” is a contraction for “Who is.” If you can restate the sentence or question into “who is,” then you can use “who’s”:

     “Okay. Who’s paying for the pizza?”

     “Okay. Who is paying for the pizza?”

Yeah. That works.

“Whose” is a possessive form of “who.” It’s basically short for “Who does this [whatever] belong to?”

     “Hey. I found a wallet. Whose wallet is this?”

     “Hey. I found a wallet. Who does this wallet belong to?”

Yup. That works. But look at this:

     “Hey. I found a wallet. Who’s wallet is this?”

     “Hey. I found a wallet. Who is wallet is this?”

Nope. Nope. Nope. That doesn’t work. At all. In fact, it sounds funny.

One’s a contraction. One’s a possessive.

Remember: suggestions, questions, comments, arguments: let us know. We love this stuff.