Since all three can be used as nouns I was wondering if I can use them as someone's possession as in the three examples below.

  1. Whose fault is it?

  2. Whose blame is it?

  3. Whose guilt is it?

I know fault can be used like that for sure. Now I have a slight doubt about guilt. Because, I know one can say. "They refuse to accept their guilt." Therefore, I believe guilt can be used as in my example. But, what about blame? I know one may say. "I'm not taking that blame." I'm assuming probably because it's not his/her blame, but, I don't I might be wrong. Hence, I need your help to figure this out. Any help will be appreciated.

  • 3
    Hi, maybe this can help you. Guilty vs Fault vs Blame Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 15:52
  • @TMoraes I found the following statement in the link you provided "Often in official contexts, blame is ‘assigned’ or ‘placed’." My question now is, does "Assigned" mean to have been given? If so, I think it means possession or ownership which alse means it's the person's blame = his/her blame. Am I right? Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 16:43
  • I believe so, you right "assign" means to designate something for a specific purpose. Defining Blame is assign responsibility for a fault or wrong.. But I don't know if that can be to describe possession. Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 21:16

2 Answers 2


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Somebody caused an accident at the power plant, and we want to hold the responsible parties accountable.

Whose fault is it?

That one works just fine; it's a normal way to ask the question. (A typical answer might be: It's Homer's fault.)

Whose blame is it?

This one doesn't work. We can talk about blame, but, syntactically, we don't use blame in the same way we use fault. Instead, we'd typically ask:

Who is to blame?

(A typical answer to that question could be: Homer is to blame.)

If you really wanted to use blame as a noun, you might say something like:

Where does the blame reside?
Where does the blame sit?
Where should the blame go?

You can find a smattering of such questions on blogs around the web1, but it's not nearly as common as "Who is to blame?"

As far as guilt goes, it's similar to blame. Indeed, guilt can be used as a noun, but we don't generally say, "Whose guilt is it?" A more idiomatic way to ask might be:

Who is the guilty one?

but I think you'll find that "Who is to blame?" and "Who is at fault?" are far more common.

1For example:

  • I see only fault can be use in such question construction. Thx J.R. Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 18:45
  • Yes, only fault can be used in constructing the question this way.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 19:13

In terms of general usage, these terms are often seriously abused but for actual meaning:

  • fault: relates to a mistake by an individual or a technical defect in a product. In general, this relates to an error or mistake rather than a deliberate or preconceived 'wrong' action. Fault tends to relate to the rational attribution of the source of a problem.

  • blame: relates to ascribing responsibility (accusing) for something bad. This may be deliberate or negligent but carries the implication of an accusation for wrongdoing as opposed an random, accidental or unpredictable problem. Blame is about what the source of the problem is perceived to be

  • guilt: relates to the moral, legal or ethical consequences of an undesirable action and implies a sense of personal responsibility.

For example:

Although Adam blamed Bert for the accident, he did not feel any guilt because he knew that it was really Charlie's fault.


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