Whose vs. who’s
Apostrophes often get people into trouble, so it’s no surprise that people often struggle with whose vs. who’s. Though it is a fairly common error, it is also fairly easy to avoid.
X There’s no one whose going to believe in your movie more than you.
X It was not well received by parents like Anne, who’s son is just getting ready to start school.
You can keep from mixing these two up by remembering that who’s is another contraction. It’s formed from the pronoun who plus is (the third person singular of the verb ‘to be’), or has (the third person singular of the verb ‘to have’). The apostrophe stands for the omitted ‘i’ of ‘is’ or the ‘ha’ of ‘has’. One easy way to tell the two apart is by seeing if you can expand the contraction into two words or not.
√ I’m the one who’s going to be held responsible. [short for ‘who is’]
√ Paul’s a student who’s been in Canada on a student visa since 2009. [short for ‘who has’]
Whose is a possessive determiner and pronoun which means ‘belonging to whom’:
√ 87 % of the respondents are supportive of fines for parents whose children engage in antisocial behaviour.
√ Whose turn is it to wash up?
Whose vs. who’s quiz
Test out your knowledge with this quick quiz below. For more information on apostrophes and other tricky punctuation, check out our posts on common punctuation mistakes and the trouble of the greengrocer’s apostrophe.