Possessives: questions

Level: beginner

We use whose to ask questions about possession:

Pattern A   Pattern B
Whose coat is this? or Whose is this coat?
Whose book is that? or Whose is that book?
Whose pens are those? or Whose are those pens?
Whose bags are those? or Whose are those bags?

 

Be careful!

Be careful not to confuse whose and who's (= who is). They are pronounced in the same way but spelled differently:

Whose coat is this?
Who's (= Who is) Stefan?

Possessives: questions 1

GapFillTyping_MTYxNTk

Possessives: questions 2

GapFillTyping_MTYxNjI

 

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Submitted by doradosz on Sun, 21/04/2019 - 13:09

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Copying job: Whose dog is this? Whose is this dog? Whose dog is that? Whose is that dog? Whose dogs are these? Whose are these dogs? Whose dogs are those? Whose are those dogs?

Submitted by Diojan on Sun, 17/09/2017 - 03:37

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Sir, I am Diojan. I have a doubt in possessive pronoun. Which is correct question form. 1.which is house theirs? 2.which house is theirs?

Hello Diojan,

2 is the correct sentence. The problem with 1 is not the possessive pronoun -- it is the word order. When 'which' goes with a noun, the noun goes immediately after it.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by bernice lin on Thu, 20/10/2016 - 01:48

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Hi, my name is Bernice. I have some questions conerning "whose." Hope I can get some advice from native speakers. "Whose books are they?" " Whose books are those?" These two are acceptable and correct in daily use. "Whose are the books on the table?" This is also acceptable. But how about: "Whose books are they on the table?" or "Whose books on the table are they?" These two sentences sound strange, isn't it? If we are on a standard test, are these two sentecnes considered correct? I will appreciate any comment. Thanks a lot.

Hi Bernice,

'Those' is a word with an aspect of location in its meaning. It is not a word which we can use in a location-neutral way, as we can with 'they'. In other words, when we say 'those' (or 'these') we must be identifying a location or a group in contrast to another location or group; otherwise the word does not fit the context. Therefore when we are identifying a location ('on the table') or a set in contrast to another set ('near me rather than far from me') we tend to use words like 'these', 'those', 'here', 'there' etc.

To relate this to your examples:

Whose books are they?

Whose books are those?

These two are acceptable and correct in daily use.

This is correct. These examples are slightly different in that the second (with 'those') requires the listener to imagine a context in which the speaker is indicating the books he or she is referring to.

Whose are the books on the table?

This is also acceptable.

Correct.

Whose books are they on the table?

Whose books on the table are they?

These two sentences sound strange, isn't it?

These sentence sound strange for the reasons given above. When we refer to the table we are giving a location, and so 'those' is much more natural. While the sentences are not necessarily grammatically incorrect, they are not standard use and would probably be seen as incorrect in a test.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by cimiman on Tue, 13/09/2016 - 11:51

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Hi, i'm Daniele I've a question concerning the example above with the term "whose". Can we use both pattern A and pattern B with the same meaning? Is there any difference between using one instead of the other? Thanks

Hello Daniele,

One pattern or the other would be more likely in certain contexts depending on the emphasis, e.g. pattern B is more likely is you want to emphasise the verb ('Whose are those bags?), but there's no difference in meaning between the two patterns. 

You might want to look through the dictionary entry for 'whose', or even search the internet for it, to see different examples of how it's used. Whatever you find on the internet will also have the advantage of showing the context.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ariana01 on Wed, 29/06/2016 - 18:35

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Hello my name is Ariana, I've studied on British council for 3 years and I don't know yet how to use possive adjectives to prurals.. I saw some examples but unfourtanally I am not clear about it.. Could you give me other examples? Thanks

Hello Ariana,

I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'possessive adjectives to plurals'. The noun does not influence the possessive adjective, so we can use the same possessive adjective with both singular and plural nouns:

This is my house.

These are my houses.

It doesn't matter if we are talking about one house or many houses here; 'my' is used with both. The possessive adjective changes only if the person changes ('your house', 'our house' etc).

I hope that helps to clarify it for you. If not then please reply, providing a sentence to illustrate what you mean and we'll try to help.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hi I am really glad that I find your website.it is great I wonder in the last sentence you have mentioned: "providing a sentence to illustrate....." why did you say "providing" instead of "provide". thank you in advance

Submitted by Kirk on Mon, 01/01/2018 - 15:48

In reply to by ihsan_qwerty

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Hello ihsan,

'providing a sentence ...' is an adverbial clause. Peter was describing how you could reply. He could also have said 'reply and provide a sentence' (in this case, 'provide' is an imperative form), but the adverbial is a bit more elegant, as well as polite.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Thiri Yadana on Thu, 05/05/2016 - 07:38

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Hello, I'm newbie and I'm very pleased to learn English lessons here. I would like to read English short stories to learn usages and grammars. Any suggestion please!!

Submitted by Kirk on Thu, 05/05/2016 - 13:35

In reply to by Thiri Yadana

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Hello Thiri Yadana Aung,

We're glad you found us! We have a section called Stories & Poems and there are lots of articles in the Magazine that might interest you. You mentioned reading materials, but if you're interested in listening, we have extensive audio and video resources as well. I'd particularly suggest Elementary Podcasts, which have been very popular with our users. Finally, of course, if it's possible for you, joining a class at a British Council centre near you would also be a great way to improve your English quickly.

We look forward to seeing you around the site.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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Hello agung,

Welcome and thanks for your comment! As a new user, I'd suggest you read our Help and House Rules pages, which give you advice on how to make the most of LearnEnglish. If you're looking for exercises, you might want to try Elementary Podcasts, which generally have quite a few.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Utdlegend on Wed, 22/07/2015 - 16:14

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Hello, I am a Palestinian student in Turkey. People here in Turkey generally don't speak English. But I will start studying in Istanbul Technical University and to start in my department lessons I should have an English proficiency exam there. The exam will be in September. Could you please tell me the best way to develop my English to the best I can do until that date. Thank you very much.
Hello Utdlegend and welcome to Turkey! As you said, Turkish people usually don't speak Egnlish. If you live in İstanbul, you can get lots of opportunity to speak English. For example, you can go to Blue Mosque Square. There are many people and tourists who speak English. Or you can go to faculty of education in the university.

Submitted by Githuga on Sun, 12/07/2015 - 08:10

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As one practises, I find it important that they also observe the punctuation and spelling as they post.

Submitted by allaeddine b on Sun, 05/07/2015 - 12:14

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Hello djdharma7,

I'd recommend you read the advice on improving your speaking on our Help page. Many of our users have reported that they've improved their fluency by using such a method, and I've also used it myself in learning other languages.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by noshi on Mon, 25/08/2014 - 12:12

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i have a lot of problem in tenses...can you please helop me out...

Submitted by Santiago Fernando on Wed, 13/08/2014 - 19:50

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Hellloooo,Im new here tooooo

Submitted by aisha 6 on Wed, 16/07/2014 - 08:54

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Thanks a lot I really take benefit from it before this lesson i was find any thing i could not ask whose it form know i can ask whose purse is this

Submitted by tala90 on Fri, 04/07/2014 - 11:07

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what is the name for ( this , that ,these ,those)

Hello tala90,

I'm sorry to hear you are having problems with the videos.  The videos require Flash compatibility so if you are using a mobile device, for example, this may be a problem.  Please let us know if you are still having problems and, if so, what kind of device and which operating system you are using, and we will try to help you to find a solution.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ghulam Mohiudd… on Thu, 12/06/2014 - 04:54

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Interesting and important. I hope I will learn English very soon.

Submitted by jcakre on Wed, 11/06/2014 - 20:28

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Hello! Please, what's the difference between that and this?

Submitted by Biology Teacher on Fri, 13/06/2014 - 21:19

In reply to by jcakre

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if something is closer to you then you can use this if it is far you can use that I hope it's helpful

Submitted by siddinaveed74 on Mon, 24/03/2014 - 18:01

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this very nice palace to improve english

Submitted by Dulanjalir on Fri, 24/01/2014 - 14:16

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Dear Sir/Madam,

I would like to know about the question pattern that I normally used..

"whose this book?" is this incorrect??

 

Hello Dulanjalir,

Your question is missing a verb:

Whose is this book?

 I hope that answers your question.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Djeniya on Tue, 10/12/2013 - 18:24

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Hello.I want to learn English.

Submitted by Ghosh on Tue, 10/12/2013 - 11:06

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Hi

Can you help me what is different between A pattern  Vs B Pattern because I have no understand ,

Submitted by Peter M. on Wed, 11/12/2013 - 09:30

In reply to by Ghosh

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Hi Ghosh,

There is no difference in meaning.  The two patterns are alternative ways of asking the same thing and you can use whichever you choose.  The only diffference is the order of the words.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by orlando bautista on Mon, 09/12/2013 - 17:18

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