5 Minute Grammar Lesson – Who’s or Whose?

Curious about the right time to use WHO’s or WHOSE? These two commonly mistaken words mix up a lot of really smart people, but the concept is pretty easy to learn. Keep reading for the simple explanation.Who's or Whose 5 Minute Grammar Lesson on SimplifyLiveLove

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Who’s or Whose?

WHO’S is always a contraction for WHO IS. It never notates possession. Ever. Just make that quick switch right now and commit to memory and you will be fine for ever more.

WHOSE is always a possessive adjective. I know there is no apostrophe. But it’s still possessive. Just because English is a really dumb language and everything needs to be hard, right?!

WHO’S that freak in my window? Who is that freak in my window? YES.

WHO’S excited to go to Helium Park in Eldridge? Who is excited to go to Eldridge? YES.

WHO’S coat is on the floor, again? Who is coat is on the floor, again? NO.

WHOSE coat is on the floor? YES

Who’s car is parked in my spot? Who is car is parked in my spot? NO.

WHOSE car is parked in my spot? YES

Who’s bright idea was 5:30 am cross fit? Who is bright idea was 5:30 am cross fit? NO!

WHOSE bright idea was 5:30 am cross fit? YES

Just remember the following and it’s all good:

Who’s = WHO IS, contraction 
WHOSE =  possessive adjective

Got it? Good!

Curious about the right time to use who's or whose? This quick 5 minute grammar lesson will teach you the right usage in no time.

Here are more grammar posts you may like:

How to make the word PEOPLE possessive

Bias or Biased?

Do to or Due to?

Less or Fewer?

Should have gone or Should have went?

And if you’re looking for helpful grammar resources, here are my top picks:

Grammarly – Instantly fix over 250 types of errors with this free web-based grammar checker!

Strunk & White Elements of Style

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 

Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation 

The Grammar Girl’s Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing

 

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Comments

  1. So I heard quite a while ago that you should not use apostrophes AT ALL in writing. Like can't, won't, don't etc. unless it is someone's direct quote. You should pull apart the apostrophe. Is that true? I write news articles and I am always cautious about that. Maybe I am over cautious.
    • Technically, the old-school rule is to avoid contractions in formal writing. However, you can't avoid all apostrophes because they also show possession. It's a good rule of thumb to avoid contractions, especially for people who struggle with words like YOUR, WHO'S etc. But sometimes, avoiding contractions makes writing sound stuffy and old fashioned. It's such a fine line!! I think you're fine avoiding contractions! I probably need to do a better job at recommending to my students that they don't use them. The problem I face is that most of the essays we read to study good writing model contractions. I harp at my students to avoid writing in the second person - yet they see that modeled, too. Hard for them to get it when they encounter it in the essays we read.

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