Words Students Confuse - Whose and Who's

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,217 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited September 26 in Grammar
A student recently wrote, "He did not know who's book it was."

If you read the sentence aloud, it sounds correct. But it is wrong the way it is written! The sentence should read, "He did not know whose book it was."

Who's is a contraction for "who is" (in this case), while whose is a possessive pronoun (like hisher, their).

For example, "I do not know who's going to the party next week." means "I do not know who is going to the party next week."

(Remember, contractions such as don't and who's are discouraged in formal writing on your IELTS, TOEIC or TOEFL exam)

The best way to know which one to write is to look at the word following the whose or who's. If the word is a noun, choose "whose" for possession. If the word is a verb or an adjective, choose "who's".

Choose the correct word in the following sentences.

1. _________________ ready to go to the park?
2. I think it is Paul _____________ bringing the music.
3. ______________ backpack is sitting on my chair?
4. Please tell me _______________ idea it was to start classes at 7:30. 
5. There is a man _______________ following us.
6. I don't know _____________ umbrella you found.

Click here for the correct answers.

1. Who's ready to go to the park?
2. I think it is Paul who's bringing the music.
3. Whose backpack is sitting on my chair?
4. Please tell me whose idea it was to start classes at 7:30. 
5. There is a man who's following us.
6. I don't know whose umbrella you found.


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