Home > Library > Confusing Words > Is It Whose Or Who’s

Is It Whose Or Who’s

Published by at February 13th, 2024 , Revised On February 29, 2024

Ah, the age-old battle of homophones! “Who’s” and “whose” – two seemingly simple words that can trip up even the most seasoned writer. They sound the same, but their meanings and functions diverge, like knights in a jousting tournament. 

To embark on this linguistic journey of confusing words, it’s essential to comprehend the fundamental differences between “who’s” and “whose.” 

“Who’s” is a contraction, combining the pronoun “who” with the verb “is” or “has.” On the other hand, “whose” functions as a possessive form, indicating ownership or association.


“Who’s” is a contraction, a shorthand amalgamation of the words “who” and “is” or “who” and “has.” This versatile term is primarily used to pose questions or to make statements about someone’s identity, actions, or possession. Let’s examine a few examples to elucidate its usage:

  • Who’s coming to the party tonight?
  • Do you know who’s responsible for this remarkable artwork?
  • Mrs Maisel is the one who’s always ready for a challenge.

In each instance, “who’s” is employed to inquire about identity, attribute an action, or denote possession.


On the contrary, “whose” is a possessive pronoun, indicating ownership or association with a particular person or thing. It is used to pose questions about possession or to describe a relationship. Here are some examples to illustrate the proper usage of “whose”:

  • Whose book is this on the table?
  • Do you know whose car is parked in front of the house?
  • The team, whose dedication is unparalleled, secured the championship.

In these examples, “whose” is used to inquire about ownership and convey a sense of possession or association.

Common Mistakes

Despite the clear distinctions between “who’s” and “whose,” common errors still arise due to their similar pronunciation and the ease with which they can be interchanged. Recognising and rectifying these mistakes is crucial for effective communication and polished writing.

Incorrect Use Of “Who’s” In Possessive Contexts

    • Example: I met a woman Who’s dog won the best in show award.
    • Correction: I met a woman whose dog won the best in show award.

In this case, the possessive form “whose” is the appropriate choice, as it indicates ownership of the dog.

Incorrect Use Of “Whose” In Contraction Contexts

    • Example: Whose going to the concert tonight?
    • Correction: Who’s going to the concert tonight?

Here, the contraction “who’s” is the correct choice, as it signifies “who is” in the context of attending the concert.

Spot The Imposter: Tricks To Avoid Confusion

So, how do we avoid mistaking one for the other? Here are some handy tricks:

  • Think possession: If you’re talking about something belonging to someone, “whose” is your champion. “Who’s” won’t fit the bill.
  • Expand the contraction: If you can replace “who’s” with “who is” or “who has” in the sentence, and it still makes sense, then “who’s” is the correct choice.
  • Listen to the sound: “Who’s” sounds like “whooz,” while “whose” rhymes with “shoes.” Though not foolproof, this can be a quick mental check.

Hire A Professional Editor

  • Expert UK Editor
  • Grammar and Punctuation
  • Precision and Clarity
  • Zero Plagiarism
  • Excellent Customer Service

Bonus Round: Fun Facts And Quirks

  • The apostrophe in “who’s” is a remnant of the missing “i” from “who is.”
  • “Whose” is surprisingly old, appearing in Middle English around the 13th century.
  • Some dialects use “who’s” to indicate possession as well, though this is not considered standard English.

Fill In The Blanks: Who’s Vs Whose

  1. “I wonder ____________ going to be the keynote speaker at the conference?”
  2. “The student, ____________ essay received top marks, was ecstatic about the result.”
  3. “Can you tell me ____________ umbrella this is? I found it in the hallway.”
  4. “The actress ____________ performance moved the audience to tears won the prestigious award.”
  5. “Do you know ____________ idea it was to organise this event?”
  6. “I can’t figure out ____________ car is parked in my spot.”
  7. “__________ responsible for submitting the report by the end of the day?”
  8. “The manager, ____________ leadership style is admired by the team, is planning a workshop.”
  9. “I don’t understand ____________ turn it is to bring snacks for the meeting.”
  10. “__________ going to join us for dinner tonight?”

Frequently Asked Questions

“Who’s” is correct when you need a contraction of “who is” or “who has.” On the other hand, “whose” is correct when indicating possession. Always choose “who’s” for questions or statements about identity or actions, and opt for “whose” to denote ownership or association with a person or thing.

Use “who” when referring to a person’s identity or asking about someone’s actions. Example: Who is coming to the party? Use “whose” to indicate possession or association with a person or thing. Example: Whose book is this? Remember, “who” focuses on identity, while “whose” signifies ownership or relationship.

I used “whose” in the previous response when explaining its usage. For instance, I wrote, “Whose book is this?” In this context, “whose” is employed to inquire about ownership, indicating possession or association with the book in question.

In a sentence, “whose” serves as a possessive pronoun, indicating ownership or association with a person or thing. For example, “The author, whose novel captivated readers, received critical acclaim.” Here, “whose” establishes a possessive relationship, connecting the author with the captivating novel.

No, “who’s” and “whose” are not interchangeable. “Who’s” is a contraction of “who is” or “who has,” while “whose” is a possessive pronoun indicating ownership. Using “who’s” instead of “whose” would alter the meaning, potentially leading to confusion about possession or association in a sentence.

The correct usage in this case is “who’s.” The sentence “Who’s with you?” is a question, where “who’s” is a contraction for “who is.” It inquires about the individuals accompanying you. On the other hand, using “whose” here would be grammatically incorrect, as it implies possession rather than identity.

About Alvin Nicolas

Avatar for Alvin NicolasNicolas has a master's degree in literature and a PhD degree in statistics. He is a content manager at ResearchProspect. He loves to write, cook and run. Nicolas is passionate about helping students at all levels.