Can you please help me understand the difference between using whose and who And why in this sentence whose is useful?

whose umbrella is this? Is it your mother's?

The choices were

  1. Who
  2. Who's
  3. Whose
  4. Whose's

Thanks so much for help!))

  • "Who's" is a contraction for "who is". "Whose's" is gibberish.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 13:14

2 Answers 2


Who refers to persons or things we presume to be animate. According to use it may either be an interrogative or relative pronoun and is singular or plural as required.

Who's may mean ' who is ' or ' who has', — a short form.

Who has there forms.

  • WHO— as subject

  • WHOM— as object


WHO never requires an " 'S " like nouns to mean ownership or possession as it has a distinct form for this.

WHOSE can function as possessive adjective or pronoun and refers to living or non living while WHO and WHOM are meant for the living. Nowadays we are using WHOM less and use WHO instead. When WHO asks a question and it is used as subject. There's no WHOSE'S as such in English.


It's never who's or whose's, as possessive pronouns (or possessive determiners, if you prefer) aren't formed with apostrophes (apart from one's, which isn't used much in contemporary English).

Who refers to a person.

Who owns this umbrella? My mother owns this umbrella.

Whose refers to a thing owned by a person.

Whose umberella is this? It is my mother's umbrella.

Whose is this? It's mine.

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