The numbers are non human. I have this sentence where it uses whose to refer to the numbers. Is this sentence correct? If not, any suggestions?

We do not receive 100% replies for the numbers whose metadata we query from the search engine.

  • 2
    Do you have a source which says that "whose" (meaning of whom or which) must relate to a human?
    – James K
    Apr 16, 2020 at 19:00
  • Might be of interest: english.stackexchange.com/questions/23541/…
    – user57928
    Apr 16, 2020 at 19:05
  • @James K No. It just does not sound familiar to me with non-human.
    – user101837
    Apr 16, 2020 at 22:14

1 Answer 1


It's a good usage. See:
American Heritage Dictionary "whose" (2)

  1. The possessive form of who.
  2. The possessive form of which.

The definition has a long usage note about using "whose" as possessive of "which", referring to inanimate objects.

  • So the short answer is "whose" can be used with non-human as in my example?
    – user101837
    Apr 16, 2020 at 22:15
  • Yes, with plenty of precedent by writers in history (per the usage note). Apr 17, 2020 at 0:52

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