Is it correct to say "whose history goes back" in a sentence talking about a certain technology?

closed as unclear what you're asking by user24743, Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩, ColleenV, user3169, shin Jun 2 '16 at 2:32

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


The best answer for this question is "Yes, but..."

One of the problems with English is that we have the words who and which, which are used for persons and objects or inanimate things respectively, like

The lady who was there
The technology which was invented

and we have the word whose, which we can use like

The lady, whose horse was tied up in front of the house...

but we don't have a word like "which's"!

The technology, which's history goes back five decades...

So if we need to use a word like whose, but for an inanimate thing, we have only two choices:

  • Use whose: "The technology, whose history goes back five decades..."
  • Rephrase it so we don't have to: "The technology, the history of which goes back five decades..."

Personally I think using whose for inanimate objects sounds wrong, and I would rather rephrase it, but there are many famous authors who have used whose for inanimate objects, and there are many people who think rephrasing it sounds worse.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.