Who, Whom, Whose & Who's


It is quite common that in order to ask questions, in English, wh-words are used. These relative pronouns include, who, whose, when, who’s and many more. The applications of relative pronouns are made in order to provide quality and crucial information that is linked with the subject or the object of the given sentences. More to this these relative pronouns are used to modify the subject as well as the objects within a sentence.

Defining Relative Pronoun

According to the Collisions Dictionary, the relative pronouns are stated to include words like - who, which and that. These words are used in the introduction of the relative clause. In simple terms, relative pronouns provide a connection between the two major clauses.

The clauses are namely, main or independent clauses and dependent or subordinate clauses. These pronouns help readers to find more information that is associated with the subject as well as the object. However, the information is known from either the nouns or the pronouns that are associated with the subject within the given sentence. The relative pronouns are said to perform functionalities that are similar to the adjectives. For this reason, most times, the relative pronouns are known as adjective clauses.

Examples of Relative Pronouns

Varied examples are found for relative pronouns that are used in making complex sentences. The examples are stated below,

  • The kid, who got lost belongs to our neighbours named Mr Bose.

  • The boy whom you met last day works as an assistant professor at the university.

However, the who, whose as well as whom are used to play specific functions that are associated with the subjects or the object. A table is provided in the following that states the differences noticed among, who, whose and whom.

Table: Differences noticed among who, whose and whom

Pronoun Replaces the Functionalities
Who People As a subject
Whose Both people or things As a possession
Whom People As an object

Forms of Subjects, Objects and Possession

In order to acknowledge the words, who’s, who, whose as well as whom properly it is required to understand the aspects of subject, object as well as possessions. Subjects are said to do the action that is present in the given sentence. On the other hand, the objects are stated to receive the action that is acted upon by the subject of the sentence. More to this the possessive forms are known to be providing information to the reader about the belongings of the subject of the given sentence respectively.


The word who is referred to as the subjective pronoun, and is used as a subject in the sentence as well as in the clause.

For example,

  • Who was he, in the football match last day?

  • Who was coming with you to the dinner party?

  • Who are you?


The word, ‘whom’ is said to be the object pronoun and is too denoted as the objective case of who. This word also acts as an object of a given sentence and is used that receives the action. The pattern of this word is whom + subject + verb.

For example,

  • Richard is the new scientist in this team, about whom I was talking to you last week.

  • I know Sid, with whom you were talking.


The word whose is often used in a question in order to gather information about the subject for a given sentence. This word performs the function of a possessive pronoun. This in simple terms denotes the belongings of someone or something.

For example,

  • They took away, Shana's copy. The results are the formation of a question, whose copy was taken away.

  • Bose's house caught a deadly fire last night. The results are the formation of a question, whose, house caught a deadly fire last night?


The word, who’s, is quite different from, the discussed relative pronouns that involve, who, whose, whom. This word, who’s is mainly a contraction of the actual words, who and is.

Certain examples are as follows −

  • Do you know who’s there in the laboratory last night?

  • Who’s giving the discussion on the Revolt of 1857?


In this tutorial, an intensive exploration has been made of relative pronouns. It is noticed that these pronouns are used in provide an effective connection between both the independent and dependent clauses of a sentence. More to this, the relative pronouns used to convey crucial information that is associated with the subject or the object. Although, it is noticed that, who, whose and whom are relative pronouns but who's states as a contraction form of who and is, respectively.


Q1. What is the difference that is noticed between the relative pronouns who and whom?

Ans. The difference that is noticed between the relative pronouns who and whom, is that the word who is used as the function of a subject in a sentence. On the other hand, the word whom is used as the function associated with the object of the sentence. In simple terms, who is used when the subject is performing any kind of action, whereas, whom is used when the object receives the action that is conducted by the subject.

Q2. What is the application of the relative pronoun whom?

Ans. The word, whom, denotes the object that is either associated with the verb or the preposition.

For Example,

  • She saw the face smiling and congratulating her, whom she loved as her close friends and family members.

  • She saw a lady, with whom she had a conversation at the cafe last evening.

Q3. What is defined as, relative pronouns?

Ans. Relative pronouns are the words that are used to make a connection between an independent clause with a dependent clause.

For Example,

The boy who was absent yesterday is the first boy in the class.

Updated on: 02-Jan-2023


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