Word Nerd: Whose Who?

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inigo

Today’s Word Nerd revolves around a common confusion between the plural and possessive form, and it’s one that’s possibly even more common than the its-it’s confusion. What makes this one more complicated is that it’s not just a question of whether or not to insert an apostrophe; there’s a whole different spelling for the possessive.

whosewho’s: a contraction for “who is”
whose: belonging to whom
whos: residents of Whoville

The confusion comes in because in most cases, an apostrophe indicates a possessive, except when it doesn’t. In this case, as with it’s, the word in question is a contraction.

If you say “who’s car?” you’re asking who car is.
If you say “whose Bob?” you’re asking who owns Bob.

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