Who’s On First?

Who is on first?

The who’s / whose dilemma is a close cousin to it’s / its. You can avoid mistakes by remembering that possessive pronouns don’t need apostrophes; contractions do.

Who’s is a contraction of who and is, just as it’s is a contraction of it and is. To show the possessive form of a pronoun, you don’t use an apostrophe. You don’t write hi’s for his or her’s for hers, do you? I hope not! So don’t write who’s when you mean whose.

To help you distinguish whose from who’s, memorize this sentence:

Abbott and Costello, whose “who’s on first” routine still makes me laugh, were gifted comics.

Or simply remember the rule: NO APOSTROPHES IN POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS!

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One thought on “Who’s On First?

  1. Don’t overlook the other meaning of “it’s” — “it has.” It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that explained. And it’s also true of “who’s,” which can mean “who has.” Take it from someone who’s failed to mention that in the past.

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