Whose v. Who’s

Again, this is a case of an apostrophe indicating NOT a possessive, but rather, a contraction. (If you couldn’t tell, I have a thing about the proper use of apostrophes.)

Even though it does not have an apostrophe, whose is a possessive adjective that implies ownership (it’s in the same group as his, hers, yours, and its). It is often used as an interrogative, that is, in a question. 

Who’s is the contraction of the words who and is. It is not possessive.

Examples:

  • Whose purse is that? (To whom does that purse belong?)
  • I don’t care whose cookie is bigger! (I do not care who has a bigger cookie!)
  • Who’s coming to dinner? (Who is coming to dinner?)
  • I wish I could figure out who’s eating all my cookies. (I wish I could figure out who is eating all my cookies.)