Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Grammar Ninja: Who's and Whose

Since none of you has sent me a grammar question (one wonders what it is you do all day if it is not pondering grammar), I am compelled, nay, obliged, to come up with a topic of my own choosing. So here's today's discussion: who's versus whose.

I was browsing silly answers to stupid questions on Quora (great way to waste time), when I came across this answer to "Who was the laziest person in history?"

I know and love someone who would live like this.
The answer made me laugh until I got to the "whose," that should have been a "who's," at which point my Grammar Ninja went all "hai -YAH!"

Because I had recently seen the opposite error on Facebook (but I can't find it now), I decided I needed to address it.

Here's the key:
Who's = who is
The apostrophe is a symbol that takes the place of missing letters. Just like isn't = is not or can't = can not. (Poor apostrophe; no one appreciates all the hard work it does.) If you aren't abbreviating "who is" then you probably want to use "whose."
Whose = belonging to whom
It's the possessive form and there should always be an object following it. I've highlighted the objects in these examples:
  • Whose baby is that?
  • She is the person whose butt I least admire.
  • Did I tell you whose husband I saw at Diamonds 'R' Us?
Hope that helps. Do you have any questions for the next post? Pet peeves you'd like me to address? Share them!

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