Whose or Who’s

Spelling and grammar checks in software such as Microsoft Word are very useful. However, there are many cases they may not pick up such as when using words like whose and who’s or their and there etc.

Even the most grammatically correct author can make mistakes and typos so it is important to ensure you search for these types of words within your manuscript and check they are used correctly in each context.


  • Who’s’ is used in place of ‘who is’ or ‘who has’. For example, ‘Who’s playing football today?’ This would be more likely to appear in dialogue as opposed to formal essays or documentation.
  • ‘Whose’ is actually a possessive term that means ‘belonging to who’ or ‘of whom’. For example, ‘Whose papers are these?’

A good rule of thumb is to see if you could replace the word ‘whose’ with ‘who is’. If you cannot then you are probably right to use ‘whose’.

Hope this helps. Obviously, to those who already know this then this post is probably pretty useless but not everyone knows everything so if this helps one aspiring author it will be worthwhile.

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