Ask Difference

Whos vs. Whose — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on October 7, 2023
Whose" is a possessive pronoun, used to determine ownership (e.g., Whose book is this?). "Whos" is incorrect grammatically, but might be a typo or miswriting of "who's," which is a contraction of "who is" or "who has."
Whos vs. Whose — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Whos and Whose

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Key Differences

Whose" is officially recognized in English and serves as a possessive form of the pronoun "who." This word is employed to inquire about or describe ownership or association with an item or items. For instance, in asking "Whose book is this?" the speaker seeks to identify the owner of the book. In the context of its application, "whose" can be used in both questions and statements to articulate possession or association.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023
On the contrary, "Whos" is not a valid word in the English language. It’s essential to note that any occurrence of "whos" is likely a typographical error or a mistaken usage. Readers might often encounter "whos" in informal digital communication, potentially where autocorrect or typing speed has undermined spelling accuracy.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023
It's critical to recognize "who's" as a legitimate contraction in English, representing a blend of the words "who is" or "who has." The utilization of "who's" is appropriate in sentences where either of these combinations is implied. For instance, in stating "Who's coming to the party?" the speaker is asking "Who is coming to the party?"
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023
In formal writing and conventional communication, "whose" and "who's" must be distinguished and employed accurately to convey clear and precise meaning. While "whose" will refer to possession, "who's" will infer the state or action of 'being' or 'having.' This distinction, while subtle in spoken language, is crucial for written clarity and accuracy.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023
Both “whose” and “who’s” serve specific roles within the structure of English sentences. Ensuring that "whose" is reserved for contexts of possession and "who’s" (not "whos") is utilized to imply “who is” or “who has” helps maintain clarity and coherence in communication.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Validity

"Whos" is incorrect
Valid English word
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Oct 07, 2023

Usage

Should be "who’s"
Used as a possessive form
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Oct 07, 2023

Meaning

Contraction for "who is/has"
Asks/describes ownership
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Oct 07, 2023

Example Usage

"Who's going to the store?"
"Whose coat is this?"
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Oct 07, 2023

Type of word

Contraction
Possessive pronoun
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Oct 07, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Whos

“Who’s” is a contraction and should always split into "who is" or "who has."
Who’s been living here for two years?
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Oct 07, 2023

Whose

“Whose” queries about ownership.
Whose bicycle is in the driveway?
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Oct 07, 2023

Whos

"Who’s" also stands for "who has."
Who’s been eating the cookies?
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Oct 07, 2023

Whose

“Whose” is not restricted to human possession and may refer to objects or animals.
This is the tree whose branch broke.
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Whos

“Who’s” represents “who is.”
Who’s at the door?
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Whose

“Whose” can be used in statements to describe possession.
I know a girl whose cat is famous.
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Oct 07, 2023

Whos

“Who’s” cannot denote possession.
Who’s this book belonging to? is incorrect.
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Oct 07, 2023

Whose

“Whose” may begin questions about ownership.
Whose idea was it to go on a hike?
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Oct 07, 2023

Whos

“Who’s” is informal and typically utilized in speech and casual writing.
Who’s your best friend?
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Whose

“Whose” can describe an unknown owner.
She found a book, whose owner never came forward.
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Oct 07, 2023

Whos

Plural of who}}; often used along with {{en, etc.
Closing of Duffy trial takes proceedings from the whos and whats to why and how.
The whos and wheres and whens and whats of his expenses were the meat of the weeks of testimony that dragged on far longer than anyone expected
Tayyaba Rehman
May 07, 2019

Whose

Belonging to or associated with which person
A Mini was parked at the kerb and Juliet wondered whose it was
Whose round is it?
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May 07, 2019

Whose

Of whom or which (used to indicate that the following noun belongs to or is associated with the person or thing mentioned in the previous clause)
A willow tree whose branches reached right to the ground
He's a man whose opinion I respect
Tayyaba Rehman
May 07, 2019

Whose

Belonging to or associated with which person
A Mini was parked at the kerb and Juliet wondered whose it was
Whose round is it?
Tayyaba Rehman
May 07, 2019

Whose

Of whom or which (used to indicate that the following noun belongs to or is associated with the person or thing mentioned in the previous clause)
He's a man whose opinion I respect
A willow tree whose branches reached right to the ground
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May 07, 2019

Whose

The possessive form of who.
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May 07, 2019

Whose

The possessive form of which.
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May 07, 2019

Whose

(interrogative) Of whom, belonging to whom; which person's or people's.
Whose wallet is this?
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Whose

(relative) Of whom, belonging to whom.
Venus, whose sister Serena is, won the latest championship.
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Whose

(relative) Of which, belonging to which.
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May 07, 2019

Whose

(interrogative) That or those of whom or belonging to whom.
Several people have lost their suitcases. Whose have you found?
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Whose

(relative) That or those of whom or belonging to whom.
This car is blocking the way, but Mr Smith, whose it is, will be here shortly.
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May 07, 2019

Whose

The possessive case of who or which. See Who, and Which.
Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee.
The question whose solution I require.
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May 07, 2019

Common Curiosities

What does "who's" mean?

"Who's" is a contraction of "who is" or "who has."
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Oct 07, 2023

What does "whose" mean?

"Whose" is a possessive pronoun used to ask or tell to whom something belongs.
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Oct 07, 2023

Can "whose" refer to inanimate objects?

Yes, "whose" can refer to both people and things in terms of possession.
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Oct 07, 2023

Is "whose" only used in questions?

No, "whose" can be used in both questions and statements.
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Oct 07, 2023

How can "whose" be used in a sentence?

Example: "Whose book is this?" or "She is a writer whose books I admire."
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Oct 07, 2023

Can "who's" be replaced with "whose" and vice versa?

No, they have different meanings and uses: "who's" for "who is/has" and "whose" for possession.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Is "whos" a correct word?

No, "whos" is incorrect; the correct form is "who's," a contraction of "who is" or "who has."
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Can "who's" be used to indicate possession?

No, "who's" cannot indicate possession; use "whose" for possession.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Can "who's" start a sentence?

Yes, e.g., "Who's going to the event tonight?"
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Oct 07, 2023

How can "who's" be used in a sentence?

Example: "Who's coming to the meeting?" or "Who’s done the homework?"
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Oct 07, 2023

Can "whose" be used without a following noun?

Yes, e.g., "Whose is this?" when asking about ownership of an implied object.
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Oct 07, 2023

Is it formal to use "who's" in writing?

"Who's" is generally accepted, but in very formal writing, it might be better to use "who is" or "who has."
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Oct 07, 2023

Can "whose" be used for both singular and plural references?

Yes, "whose" can refer to one person/thing or more than one (e.g., "Whose bags are these?").
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Oct 07, 2023

How to ensure correct usage of "whose"?

Ensure it refers to possession or association, e.g., "Whose idea was it?"
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Oct 07, 2023

Can "who's" and "whose" be used interchangeably in informal conversation?

No, their distinct meanings (“who is/has” vs. possession) preserve their separate uses in all contexts.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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