What’s the Difference Between Whose vs. Who’s?

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Whose and who’s, both words come from the pronoun who. While these two words are pronounced similarly, they have different meanings and functions in a sentence. While Whose comes from whom, who’s is related to who. If you often get confused between these two homophones, read this article until the end. 

What Does “Whose” Mean?

The word whose is a possessive pronoun, a term that indicates possession of something, for example, mine, hers, theirs, yours, etc. It is often used in question where someone asks about who owns something, for instance.

  • Whose pen is this?
  • Whose spectacles are these?
  • Whose house are we going to?
  • Whose fault is that?
  • Whose turn is to sing?

Previously, whose was only used for a person. Like in the sentence, “whose house are we going to,” whose indicates which person’s house we are talking about. However, over the years, the word whose has become acceptable to explain non-living things and as well.

See some examples:

  • It is the clock whose alarm keeps waking us up at night.
  • I like flowers whose petals are colorful and scented.
  • The car whose windshield is broken is mine. 
  • I love the motorbike whose engine is robust.

Note:  While plants and trees are living things, they are considered inanimate as they can’t communicate animatedly. 

What Does “Who’s” Mean?

Who’s is a shortened version of either “who + is” or “who + has.” The apostrophe punctuation mark is used in place of missing letters to make the pronunciation quicker and easier.   

Some Examples of Who’s as “Who + is” 

  • Who’s hungry?
  • Who’s your next guest?
  • Who’s going to take our pictures?
  • Who’s chasing that girl?
  • He is the person who’s standing with poor people.
  • Am I the only one who’s running?
  • Who’s sponsoring this event?
  • Roman, who’s driving the white car will be back in a few minutes.

Some Examples of Who’s as “Who + has” 

  • Who’s got a better business idea?
  • Who’s taken advantage of the situation?

Tips to Remember The Differences Between Whose and Who’s

Tip No. 1: Say “who is” or “who has” aloud

One easy way to determine whether you need to use “who’s” or “whose” is to say “who is” loudly to yourself when you write or read. Thus you can quickly know if “who’s” or “whose” makes sense to your sentence.

Tip No. 2: Ask: Am I using a contraction (a shortened version of a written or spoken word)?

Remember, who’s is a shortened version of “who is” or “who has” while “whose” is not. So, if the word you’re writing is a contraction, it’s always “who’s.”

Tip No. 3: See what follows

Don’t forget, whose is generally followed by a noun. So if a sentence has a noun right after the whose or who’s, you should use whose.

Understanding the difference between these two words is exceptionally straightforward. Once you know what distinct whose vs. who’s, it won’t be difficult for you to use them. Hopefully, this post clears all your doubt.


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