4

The possessive form of who is whose. What is the equivalent possessive form of which?

which has the same purpose as who as a placeholder in a secondary sentence, with the difference that who is for people and living beings while which is for inanimate objects (please correct me if wrong).

Example:

An image is read and sent to the function, which's output is displayed.

Here I have used an obscure word invention: which's in place of the word I am looking for. What is the correct word to plug in, if any? Compare with a similar who-sentence:

An gift is wrapped and sent to the Peter, whose reaction is recorded.


The equivalent word in my mother tongue Danish is hvis:

Et billede læses og sendes til funktionen, hvis output vises på skærmen.

marked as duplicate by tchrist Feb 7 '18 at 14:53

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 3
    A rock album whose cover shocked the world. There is only one possessive relative pronoun in English: whose. – KarlG Feb 7 '18 at 14:01
  • 1
    I personally believe that it doesn't exist in English. Workarounds include things like "A rock album, where the cover shocked the world." – Fattie Feb 7 '18 at 14:07
  • 1
    Steeven, note too that you have: An image is read and sent to the function, the output of which is displayed. – Fattie Feb 7 '18 at 14:08
  • 1
    And note that words like wherein are sometimes used to avoid the issue. Example, "A novel, wherein the hero is a dog." – Fattie Feb 7 '18 at 14:11
4

As an alternative to Scotland141's perfectly valid answer, you can use of which, although in this case the word order is slightly different:

An image is read and sent to the function, the output of which is displayed.

You could also maintain something closer to the original word order (sounding more formal):

An image is read and sent to the function, of which the output is displayed.

3

"Whose" still works.

An image is read and sent to the function, whose output is displayed.

  • 1
    @NigelJ Common knowledge doesn't really require references! – Araucaria Feb 7 '18 at 14:30
  • 1
    @NigelJ It isn't a website for advanced users of English. The answer is that although this is common knowledge amongst linguists of English (and any relective native speaker), the fact that people are told not to use whose as a pronoun for things (because of the interrogative pronoun) confuses people. – Araucaria Feb 9 '18 at 10:09
  • 1
    @Araucaria Agreed and accepted. Actually, there is more in this question than I realised. (Still learning, me, and just learned a new word - 'relective'.) – Nigel J Feb 9 '18 at 14:20
  • @NigelJ I'm always missing out etters from wors in the comments ... – Araucaria Feb 9 '18 at 17:15
  • @Araucaria I wasn't being rude. 'Relective' appeared to be a real word, at first, but when I investigated it later, it seems to be a misspell. – Nigel J Feb 9 '18 at 20:02

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.