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The Difference Between Who’s vs. Whose

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“Who’s” and “whose,” like many other homophones, are easy to mix up. Although they both relate to “who,” they have different uses.

Is it "who's" or "whose"?
Remembering how to use these words is simple. 
If you’re having trouble with these two words, remember that

  1. Who’s is a contraction, or shortened version, of who is or who has.
  2. Whose is a possessive form of “who.”
  3. The who is or who has test is an easy way to make sure you’ve used the right word.

Who’s going to show you how to use these words correctly? We are. Whose writing is about to get exceptionally better? Yours.


1. “Who’s” is a Contraction

Who’s is a contraction of “who is.” Imagine that the apostrophe is the dot for the letter “i.”

Who’s going to go to the supermarket with me?
She went to see Dr. Hilton, who’s known as the best chiropractor in town.

Who’s also stands for “who has.”

Who’s watched the last movie of the trilogy?
She is a famous astronaut who’s gone on several trips to space.

2. Whose is a Modifier

Whose, like whom, is a little trickier to understand. Whose can be used in relative clauses and in questions, as a modifying adjective, or as a pronoun.

He’s the man whose house just got broken into.
I don’t know whose this is.

3. When in Doubt, Test it Out

If you’re not certain that you’ve used the right word, replace it with “who is,” or “who has.”  If the sentence is grammatically correct, then you’ve picked the right word. But if it doesn’t make sense, then replace who’s with whose.

He’s an excellent chef who’s known for his international menu.

He’s an excellent chef who is known for his international menu.

Whose cell phone is ringing?

Who is cell phone is ringing?

We understand where the confusion comes from. A lot of times, an apostrophe with an “s” behind it indicates possession (e.g., the girl’s party). In this case, however, the apostrophe in who’s means it’s a contraction for who is or who has.

Remember, if you want to double-check you’ve used the right word, replace the word in question with who is or who has. But, if you need more assurance, try out LanguageTool’s online editor. Not only will it pick up this error, but it’ll also detect other common spelling and grammar mistakes, offer synonyms, and suggests stylistic improvements that’ll significantly enhance your text.

Who's vs. Whose
“Who's” is a contraction of “who is” or “who has.” “Whose” can be used as a modifying adjective or as a pronoun.

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