The speaker uses "whose end" rather than "the end of which", why? What rhetorical device does he apply? Since "who" refers usually to humans, I guess the device is personification like using "she" or referring to your beloved country. I am not sure.

We have a place, all of us, in a long story - a story we continue, but whose end we will not see.

Source: George W. Bush's first inaugural address

  • 3
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inanimate_whose has some background on it - the gist of it is that "whose" as a relative pronoun doesn't have a one-to-one inanimate equivalent (and requires longer phrases such as the one you've suggested), so some style guides accept it for inanimate objects as well. Nov 20, 2020 at 12:32
  • 1
    No, it is not personification. Whose has long been applied to inanimates. I suppose it is possible that there was originally personication, but I doubt even that.
    – Colin Fine
    Nov 20, 2020 at 14:27

1 Answer 1


"whose" has long been used to refer to the property of things as well as people. Here's a dictionary definition. [my emphasis]


used for showing that someone or something belongs to or is connected with the person or thing that you have just mentioned

Help is needed for families whose homes were destroyed in the bombing.

Haig led the British army, under whose command the Commonwealth forces also fought.

They live in a house whose roof could collapse at any time.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .