Friday, September 28, 2018

Grammar - Who's versus Whose
Many students learning English often misspell a number of words that sound the same but have a different spelling (such words are known as homophones). What is surprising is that there are a number of native speakers who also make the mistake of confusing such like-sounding words.

The difference between who's and whose is easy to spot because of the apostrophe, making it simple to differentiate between the two words.


Means "who is".

For example: 

  • Who's the president of the United States?
  • Do you know who's coming to the party?

"Who" therefore is a word used to refer to a person. The 's is the short form (contracted form) of the verb "to be". 

In the first example, it is in the present simple whereas in the second one it is a helping verb (first person singular) used in the present continuous tense.


a) As a relative pronoun, it is used to refer to a person or animal that owns or possesses something.

For example: 
  • That's the girl whose essay got the highest score.
  • Our neighbor, whose car was stolen last week, has decided to move to another part of the city.
  • Jack's dog Fluffy, whose eyes are a different color, is a Siberian Husky.

In these examples the girl wrote the essay so it's hers, the neighbor owned a car before it got stolen and Fluffy the dog has different-colored eyes.

b) As a question word (interrogative pronoun) also known as a wh-word, it asks a question about who possesses something, in other words who or what belongs to someone.

For example:
  • Whose essay is this?
  • Whose dog house was painted last week?

In both cases, the person asking the question wants to find out who the essay belongs to and who the dog house belongs to, respectively.

Don't forget to check out the list of grammar points you need to be familiar with before taking a B2-level test and a C2-level test.

Find more grammar help here.

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