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The Difference Between Who's & Whose

Do you find words that sound exactly the same, but have different meanings confusing? If so, you are definitely not alone. Many people find these words called homonyms very hard to learn. Individuals who are not native English speakers can become even more easily confused by these types of words.

For example, many people tend to mix up the words "who's" and "whose" when they are writing. Because they sound the same, new writers tend to substitute one term with the other, even if the word they have chosen is incorrect. Although there is no difference between how these particular words sound, they have very different meanings.



The term "who's" is a contraction or abbreviation of the words "who is" or "who has" or "who was." The apostrophe is used to replace the letter I, the letters ha or the letters wa.


"Who's going to the birthday party next Saturday afternoon?"

"Please tell anyone who's having problems to see me after class."


If you become confused as to which word to use, try substituting the word you chose with the words "who is" or "who was" and see if the sentence still makes sense. For example, the sentence "Whose notes are these?" wouldn't make sense if you replaced the word "whose" with "who is."

However, if you look at the above 2 examples, you will notice that you can easily substitute the word "who's" with "who is." You know you have used the correct word because the sentence still makes sense with the substitution.



The term "whose" is a possessive pronoun and the possessive form of the word "who" or "which," and it is used to indicate ownership. The meaning is "belonging to whom or which." It's important to remember that possessive pronouns never include apostrophes.


"Whose book do you enjoy reading the most?"

"Do you know whose turn it is to drive the kids to school?"