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Whose vs. Who: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Published on January 16, 2024
'Whose' is a possessive pronoun indicating ownership, while 'who' is a pronoun used to ask about or describe a person.

Key Differences

'Whose' is used to indicate possession or ownership. It is a possessive pronoun that can be used in questions or relative clauses to ask or tell about who owns something. On the other hand, 'who' is used as an interrogative or relative pronoun to ask or describe which person or what kind of person is involved.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 16, 2024
'Whose' is often used in questions to inquire about the owner of an object or the person responsible for something. For example, "Whose book is this?" asks about the ownership of a book. In contrast, 'who' is used to identify or inquire about a person's identity or characteristics. For instance, "Who is the author of this book?" is asking about the identity of the author.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 16, 2024
In relative clauses, 'whose' links a noun to a clause that provides additional information about the owner of that noun. For example, in the sentence "That's the scientist whose research changed the field," 'whose' connects 'the scientist' to their significant accomplishment. 'Who', however, is used to refer to people in clauses that give more information about them, as in "She is the scientist who won the award."
Sumera Saeed
Jan 16, 2024
'Whose' does not have a gender or number restriction; it can refer to singular or plural, male, female, or non-binary. Conversely, 'who' is also gender-neutral and can refer to one or more individuals, but it specifically pertains to their identity or role.
Janet White
Jan 16, 2024
Understanding the correct usage of 'whose' and 'who' is important for clear communication. While 'whose' is all about ownership or association, 'who' is about the identity or description of people.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 16, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Function in Sentence

Indicates possession or ownership
Asks about or describes a person
Sumera Saeed
Jan 16, 2024

Usage

Used in questions and relative clauses for ownership
Used as an interrogative or relative pronoun for identity
Sumera Saeed
Jan 16, 2024

Example Sentence

"Whose car is parked outside?"
"Who is the president?"
Sumera Saeed
Jan 16, 2024

Relative Clauses

Links a noun to a clause about ownership
Links a subject to a clause about identity
Aimie Carlson
Jan 16, 2024

Restrictions

Gender-neutral, can refer to singular or plural
Gender-neutral, refers to individuals or groups
Sumera Saeed
Jan 16, 2024
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Whose and Who Definitions

Whose

'Whose' indicates belonging to or associated with which person.
Whose responsibility is it to lock the doors?
Sumera Saeed
Dec 22, 2023

Who

'Who' introduces clauses that provide additional information about a person.
She is the athlete who broke the world record.
Harlon Moss
Dec 22, 2023

Whose

'Whose' is a possessive pronoun used to ask about ownership.
Whose keys are on the table?
Aimie Carlson
Dec 22, 2023

Who

'Who' refers to people in a general or specific sense.
Who can help me with this task?
Aimie Carlson
Dec 22, 2023

Whose

'Whose' connects a noun to a clause describing ownership.
She is the writer whose novels I admire most.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 22, 2023

Who

'Who' is a pronoun used to ask about or describe a person.
Who won the game last night?
Harlon Moss
Dec 22, 2023

Whose

'Whose' can refer to people or things in terms of possession.
Whose phone keeps ringing during the meeting?
Sumera Saeed
Dec 22, 2023

Who

'Who' is used to identify or specify individuals or groups.
Who are the members of the committee?
Aimie Carlson
Dec 22, 2023

Whose

'Whose' is used to inquire about the possessor of an item.
Whose idea was it to start this project?
Harlon Moss
Dec 22, 2023

Who

'Who' is used in questions to inquire about a person's identity.
Who is speaking at the conference?
Janet White
Dec 22, 2023

Whose

The possessive form of who.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Who

(interrogative) What person or people; which person or people; asks for the identity of someone; used in a direct or indirect question.
Who is that? (direct question)
I don't know who it is. (indirect question)
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Whose

The possessive form of which.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Who

(relative) Introduces a relative clause having a human antecedent.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Whose

(interrogative) Of whom, belonging to whom; which person's or people's.
Whose wallet is this?
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Who

With antecedent as subject.
That's the man who works at the newsagent. (defining)
My sister, who works in the accounts department, just got promoted to manager. (non-defining)
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Whose

(relative) Of whom, belonging to whom.
Venus, whose sister Serena is, won the latest championship.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Who

(non-formal) With antecedent as object: whom.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Whose

(relative) Of which, belonging to which.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Who

Whoever, he who, they who.
Who insults my mother insults me.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Whose

(interrogative) That or those of whom or belonging to whom.
Several people have lost their suitcases. Whose have you found?
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Who

A person under discussion; a question of which person.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Whose

(relative) That or those of whom or belonging to whom.
This car is blocking the way, but Mr Smith, whose it is, will be here shortly.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Who

Whose
Who phone just rang?
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Whose

The possessive case of who or which. See Who, and Which.
Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee.
The question whose solution I require.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Who

One; any; one.
As who should say, it were a very dangerous matter if a man in any point should be found wiser than his forefathers were.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Who

A United Nations agency to coordinate international health activities and to help governments improve health services
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

FAQs

Is 'whose' only used for people?

No, 'whose' can refer to both people and things.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 16, 2024

Is 'who' used for both singular and plural?

Yes, 'who' can refer to both singular and plural subjects.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 16, 2024

How do I use 'whose' in a sentence?

Use 'whose' to indicate possession, as in "Whose coat is this?"
Sumera Saeed
Jan 16, 2024

Can 'whose' indicate ownership of ideas?

Yes, 'whose' can be used to ask about the ownership of ideas or concepts.
Harlon Moss
Jan 16, 2024

How does 'whose' function in a question?

'Whose' functions as a possessive interrogative in questions.
Harlon Moss
Jan 16, 2024

Can 'who' be used for objects?

No, 'who' is specifically used for referring to people.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 16, 2024

Can 'whose' be used in formal writing?

Yes, 'whose' is appropriate in both formal and informal contexts.
Harlon Moss
Jan 16, 2024

What is the possessive form of 'who'?

The possessive form of 'who' is 'whose'.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 16, 2024

What type of pronoun is 'who'?

'Who' is an interrogative and relative pronoun for people.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 16, 2024

How do I choose between 'whose' and 'who'?

Use 'whose' for possession and 'who' for identifying people.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 16, 2024

How is 'whose' used in relative clauses?

'Whose' introduces a clause providing information about the owner of a noun.
Harlon Moss
Jan 16, 2024

Is 'whose' a contraction?

No, 'whose' is not a contraction.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 16, 2024

Does 'who' have a plural form?

No, 'who' remains the same in both singular and plural contexts.
Janet White
Jan 16, 2024

Can 'whose' refer to animals?

Yes, 'whose' can refer to animals when indicating possession.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 16, 2024

Is 'who' used in relative clauses?

Yes, 'who' is commonly used in relative clauses.
Harlon Moss
Jan 16, 2024

Does 'who' have different forms for different cases?

Yes, 'who' changes to 'whom' in the objective case.
Janet White
Jan 16, 2024

Can 'who' be used for indefinite subjects?

Yes, 'who' can refer to indefinite subjects.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 16, 2024

Is 'who' gender-specific?

No, 'who' is gender-neutral.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 16, 2024

Can 'who' start a question?

Yes, 'who' often begins interrogative sentences.
Janet White
Jan 16, 2024

Can 'whose' be used without a following noun?

Typically, 'whose' is followed by a noun or noun phrase.
Harlon Moss
Jan 16, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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