Every week I will demonstrate an example of poor English where a different word is used from the one intended. Sometimes this creates a grammatically incorrect sentence. Unfortunately, the mistake is usually so pervasive that we all do it and such errors are usually made by those who should know better – journalists working for national or global media outlets such as newspapers and television.
Who’s / Whose
This is one we should all know, one that we would have learnt in school yet it seems that some people confuse them, I have seen both used interchangeably and even I have to stop and think sometimes about which one I should use.
Who’s – this is a contraction, usually of “who is”, but sometimes also for “who has” as in… “who’s had the last slice of bread?”
Whose – Is the possessive form of the word “who” (this is probably where some of the confusion lies). It goes before a noun
There are two tests for this:
- If you write a sentence and cannot substitute “who is” or “who has” for whichever form you have written, then you have chosen the wrong one
- If you write a sentence and cannot substitute all over words (except the subject of the sentence) for “To whom does this NOUN belong?” then you have chosen the wrong one