Even the brightest students of English grammar can become confused about whose or who's. In fact, a student from Kahului, Maui, recently asked me to clarify the difference in an Ask Cozy Grammar video.
Students find whose and who's confusing because both of these words sound the same when we speak. It's thus easy to mix them up in writing.
This isn't usually a problem if we're writing to friends, because friends usually understand what we mean even if we confuse whose and who's.
However, if we're applying for a job, writing an essay for school, or submitting an article to be published professionally, confusing these words can make us look less intelligent than we actually are.
So here's a simple way to remember the difference and decide whether to write whose or who's.
Take a peek! Then I'll share three keys I've discovered to remembering grammar easily.
Whose or Who's: Clarity and Life
In this video, along with explaining the difference between whose and who's, I'm making use of three ways to remember grammar easily.
Let me tell you what these three ways are.
First, begin with clarity about the concept at hand.
In this case, the key to deciding between whose or who's is to remember that the decision is actually between a possessive pronoun and a contraction.
Do we want to talk about who possesses an apple tree or house or book? Then we need the possessive pronoun WHOSE.
On the other hand, do we want to talk about who is going to do some activity? Then we need the contraction WHO'S, which actually means who is.
Most conventional explanations stop there. At Cozy Grammar, however, we're interested in going beyond mere rules to the living experience of language and life. That's the real way to learn and remember the art and technique of English.
For example, here's how Marie discusses possessive pronouns in The Basic Cozy Grammar Course. As you'll see, she uses the context of a festive meal to make the grammatical concept crystal clear.
Creativity and Clarity
The second part of the secret to remembering grammar is to use your knowledge in a creative life-affirming way.
That's why we incorporate joyful creative writing activities into all of our courses. As Marie believed and as I believe, it's by putting our knowledge into action that it becomes a natural part of our understanding.
That's also why I hope you and your students will try the creative writing activity that I suggest in our Ask Cozy Grammar video about whose and who's.
By the way, if you or your students end up writing something you like, feel free to contact us with a copy.
We might publish it in a Cozy Grammar Newsletter!
Who's on First? Clarity and Fun
The third part of the secret is already contained in the first two: make grammar fun.
When we begin with clarity about language, incorporate creative writing activities, and also have fun while doing so, we learn easily, and just as important, we remember what we learn.
Here, for instance, is one more way to remember that who's is a contraction that means who is. In their famous routine "Who's on First," Abbott & Costello use this particular contraction to create one of the greatest pieces of comedy of all time.
If you or your students don't know it already, I not only encourage you to watch it, but also invite you to consider memorizing and performing it yourselves. (Here's one of many places that has a complete transcript.)
Learning this routine with a sibling, parent, or friend can be a wonderful way to explore the delights of language and to foster greater confidence in front of an audience at the same time.
It's good clean fun that also grants us clarity.
Last Call for our Grammar and Punctuation Combo
Part of clarity, of course, is keeping it simple.
The combo comes from the days when we shipped VHS and DVD copies of our courses in the mail. Getting both of the courses at the same time saved on shipping as well as handling expenses.
Since the combo proved particularly popular, we decided to keep offering it even after we moved our courses online.
Now, however, in an effort to keep things as simple as possible, both for our students and for our very small team, we're moving to offering all of our courses individually.
That way people can mix and match according to their own needs and preferences. Selling them individually also keeps things much clearer behind the scenes of our website so we can focus our energy on the updated and expanded version of the Intermediate Cozy Grammar Course, Levels 1 & 2, currently in production.
In the meantime, if you'd like to take advantage of our special combo pricing, you'll be able to do so until October 31, 2020.
I hope this finds you and your family happy, healthy, and safe.
Marie's Language Consultant
The Cozy Grammar Series of Courses