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This came up in describing an input to a function:

A handle to the daemon who's name is desired.

(Daemon is a type of process on a system.)

Somehow, "who's" just doesn't seem right because it's not a who, but a what. Could one say "... the daemon what's name is desired"?

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Well, for starters, it would be "whose" anyway. "Who's" is short for "who is". – mmyers Sep 27 '10 at 18:11
the daemon named desire... – kajaco Sep 28 '10 at 19:16
up vote 13 down vote accepted

It is wrong, but not because a daemon is a thing rather than a person — "who's" doesn't indicate possession, it's a contraction of "who is". You need whose, which is a possessive pronoun and adjective, like his, hers, etc. So, just like you'd say "his name", you'd say "whose name", or "its name".

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