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Whos Misusing Whose?

 

People have a lot of trouble with the word whose.

A short web cruise will turn up numerous examples of the error of writing who’s when the context calls for whose. For example:

  • Do any of you have favorite authors who’s books have become hard to find?

  • People who’s lives are manipulated by others…

  • What to do with a step daughter who’s behavior is out of control

  • When Driving A Borrowed Car: who’s Policy Covers What?

Like it’s, who’s is a contraction. And like it’s, the misuse of who’s screams ignorance or extremely slipshod writing.

Who’s is a contraction for the words who is.

Whose is a word of many uses. Here are some examples of ways in which it may be used to stand for nouns, describe nouns, ask a question, or introduce a clause:

  • Whose are these keys?

  • Whose dog is this?

  • Don’t forget whose son you are.

  • He found a laptop and wondered whose it was.

  • That’s the race horse whose winnings made Jones a millionaire. Don’t delay the passengers whose passports have already been stamped.

NOTE: When the antecedent is inanimate, whose may be replaced by of which: The new car, the luxury of which impressed everyone, is a domestic make.

However, since the by which construction often produces what the Oxford English Dictionary calls “an intolerably clumsy form,” whose is often used for inanimate antecedents as well: This is the cottage whose shutters and thatched roof so delight me.

Because I don’t like to leave egregious errors floating in people’s minds, here are the corrected sentences:

  • Do any of you have favorite authors whose books have become hard to find?

  • People whose lives are manipulated by others…

  • What to do with a step-daughter whose behavior is out of control

  • When Driving A Borrowed Car: Whose Policy Covers What?

- Source: Daily Writing Tips

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