- (the possessive case of who used as an adjective): Whose umbrella did I take? Whose is this one?
- (the possessive case of which used as an adjective): a word whose meaning escapes me; an animal whose fur changes color.
- the one or ones belonging to what person or persons: Whose painting won the third prize?
Origin of whose
- what person or persons?: Who did it?
- (of a person) of what character, origin, position, importance, etc.: Who does she think she is?
- the person that or any person that (used relatively to represent a specified or implied antecedent): It was who you thought.
- (used relatively in restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses to represent a specified antecedent, the antecedent being a person or sometimes an animal or personified thing): Any kid who wants to can learn to swim.
- Archaic. the person or persons who.
- as who should say, Archaic. in a manner of speaking; so to say.
Origin of who
In most speech and writing, however, since who or whom often occurs at the beginning of the sentence or clause, there is a strong tendency to choose who no matter what its function. Even in edited prose, who occurs at least ten times as often as whom, regardless of grammatical function. Only when it directly follows a preposition is whom more likely to occur than who : Mr. Erickson is the man to whom you should address your request.
In natural informal speech, whom is quite rare. Who were you speaking to? is far more likely to occur than the “correct” To whom were you speaking? or Whom were you speaking to? However, the notion that whom is somehow more “correct” or elegant than who leads some speakers to make an inappropriate hypercorrection: Whom are you? The person whom is in charge has left the office. See also than.
Examples from the Web for whose
Contemporary Examples of whose
Cassandra, whose hair has already begun to fall out from her court-mandated chemotherapy, could face a similar outcome.Should Teens Have The Right To Die?
January 8, 2015
So, whose bidding do we think these candidates are going to do?The 100 Rich People Who Run America
January 5, 2015
That was accomplished by cops such as the one whose picture was clutched so tightly by his widow on Sunday.Funeral Protest Is Too Much for NYPD Union Boss
January 5, 2015
One was a Quaker school, whose name he can no longer recall, in upstate New York.The Story Behind Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance Smile
January 3, 2015
That tweet came from Shay Horse, whose bio lists him as an independent photojournalist with ties to Occupy Wall Street.The Monsters Who Screamed for Dead Cops
December 23, 2014
Historical Examples of whose
And there was big, handsome, Eddie Arledge, whose father had treated him shabbily.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
He was stopped by a policeman, who demanded, "Whose bag is that, Johnny?"
Probably there was no boy present whose suit was of such fine material as his.
So we think, whatever you think: and whose thoughts are to be preferred?
By this engine, whose springs I am continually oiling, I play them all off.
- of whom? belonging to whom? used in direct and indirect questionsI told him whose fault it was; whose car is this?
- (as pronoun)whose is that?
- of whom; belonging to whom; of which; belonging to which: used as a relative pronouna house whose windows are broken
Word Origin for whose
- World Health Organization
- which person? what person? used in direct and indirect questionshe can't remember who did it; who met you?
- used to introduce relative clauses with antecedents referring to human beingsthe people who lived here have left
- the one or ones who; whoeverbring who you want
Word Origin for who
Old English hwa, from Proto-Germanic *khwas, *khwes, *khwo (cf. Old Saxon hwe, Danish hvo, Swedish vem, Old Frisian hwa, Dutch wie, Old High German hwer, German wer, Gothic hvo (fem.) "who"), from PIE *kwo- (cf. Sanskrit kah "who, which;" Avestan ko, Hittite kuish "who;" Latin quis/quid "in what respect, to what extent; how, why," qua "where, which way," qui/quae/quod "who, which;" Lithuanian kas "who;" Old Church Slavonic kuto, Russian kto "who;" Old Irish ce, Welsh pwy "who").