When to use Whose vs. Who’s With Easy Examples

When we see an apostrophe followed by the letter ‘s,’ we tend to associate this with ownership. And, most of the time, this rule holds true. However, almost every rule in the English language has an exception, and this one is no different.

For example, when it comes to it’s vs. its and whose vs. who’s, the word with the apostrophe ‘s’ is not the possessive one. Rather, it’s a contraction.

Whose vs. Who’s

Whose and whose are homophones, meaning these words sound the same. However, they have completely different spellings, meanings, and functions. On one hand, who’s is a contraction that links the pronoun who with the verbs is, has, or was. Like other contractions, it’s appropriate for casual conversations, but should be spelled out in formal writing. Conversely, whose is possessive pronoun that shows to whom something belongs. It often describes a person, but you can also use it for a pet or location.

How to Remember the Difference Between Whose vs. Who’s

Here’s the easiest way to remember the difference between whose vs. who’s: Since who’s is a contraction for the phrases who is/who has/who was, try replacing the word with who is or who has. Does the sentence still make sense? Is it still grammatically correct? If yes, then the contraction who’s (with the apostrophe ‘s’) is the correct choice. If no, then whose (without the apostrophe ‘s’) is probably the word you want.

Pop Quiz

Check your understanding with these sentences: https://argoprep.com/blog/whose-vs-whos/.

Kyle, (who’s, whose) going to New York in the fall, loves architecture.
I found this takeout box in the fridge at work. Do you know (who’s, whose) it is?
John felt safe around Kelly, (who’s, whose) taken many self-defense classes.
Mark composed a list of (who’s, whose) attending the cooking class at the community center.
Of all the bankers at the conference, (who’s, whose) had more experience than Derrick?
Anyone (who’s, whose) had experience in graphic design can help me with my project.
Chicago, a city (who’s, whose) architecture is admired all over the world, has a population of over 2 million residents.
(Who’s, Whose) yellow car is parked in front of your house?
William Faulkner, (who’s, whose) books I read in high school, remains one of my favorite authors.
(Who’s, Whose) idea was it to eat dinner here? The service is terrible.