The word "whose" can be used as a pron, such as "whose is the shirt?" and it can also be used as a det, such as "whose shirt is that?" . "Whose plus a noun" is more common. Am I right?

In addition, is there any restrictions that "whose without a noun immediately followed" is used? Can is be used in attributive clauses or noun clauses? My teacher told us that when "whose" is used in an attributive clause, it must be followed by a noun, is that right? What about in a noun clause? Must "whose" be followed by a noun?

Thank yo very much!

  • 1
    A counterexample, At one time it must have been buried in a tomb, but whose is unknown. Jul 19, 2014 at 10:21
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    In the US, "whose is the shirt?" is not grammatically correct.
    – AWT
    Jul 21, 2014 at 17:28
  • 3
    @AWT Sure it is. It's not something you hear a lot colloquially, but it's perfectly grammatical. Jul 26, 2014 at 18:42
  • @StoneyB it's perfectly grammatical, if so, that is an answer then.
    – Maulik V
    Jul 31, 2014 at 11:13

1 Answer 1


@AWT has presented a good answer, by referencing your question's grammatically correct whose is the shirt?

While this doesn't appear to be used a lot, while growing up, I heard a LOT of Whose is this?. Of course, there is an implied (usually sternly pointed-to) noun associated with the request. Whose is this [noun]? is then more likely to be asked than Whose is the [noun].

From ngrams, yes, Whose [noun] is by far the most used.

It is entirely correct to apply adjectives to the nouns:

Whose red shirt is this?

It does not make sense to use Whose with noun clauses. As noun clauses are generally abstract (thought/idea) terms, it would be problematic to use them after Whose.


Whose idea was it to flush the whole toilet paper roll?


Whose why it was flushed down the toilet is this?

Whose that it would get stuck is this?

But if the clause is the title of a book, it's correct to say:

Whose "What Maisy Saw" is this?

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