I am actually asking about the spelling of this word, not whether it exists... which in fact makes it rather difficult to write about. I will spell it as "whoever's" for the purpose of explaining the question.

Take these examples inspired by colloquial US speech:

*Whoever's umbrella this is, please come take it!


Write down *whomever's name was on the form we got.

How, morphologically (and also plain logically) speaking, would the asterisked word best be spelled?

I've never seen it in written form outside of casual text-chatting, where it's oft rendered as I wrote it above, but this feels slightly off to me taking into account that who's is incorrect. Would "whoevers/whomevers" be more reasonable, if at all?

...I suppose it would also be relevant here to inquire why, exactly, the 's clitic/affix appears to be reserved for nouns in English and never pronouns (as would be in "who's", "he's", "she's", "they's"...?).

  • 1
    Have you considered writing down whosever name was on the form? After all, whosever is the possessive case of whoever, just as whose is the possessive case of who.
    – tchrist
    Mar 20, 2018 at 5:31
  • AFAIK "Whoever's umbrella this is, please come take it!" needs no asterisk.
    – Kris
    Mar 20, 2018 at 6:40

1 Answer 1


From Garner's usage tips

You can always be sure that the form *"whomever’s" is wrong. If it’s intended as a possessive form [about which you're asking], it’s wrong for “whosever”; if it’s intended as a contraction of “whomever is,” then the objective form “whomever” is wrongly acting as the subject of “is.” Yet this poor form often appears. Notice that in the following sentence, “whomever” looks like an object of a preposition or verb, but in fact it’s simply part of a noun clause that should function as an object — e.g.: “You can trust whomever’s [read ‘whoever’s’] behind the turntables.” Eric Brace, “Deepflyte, House with ‘Nooks and Crannies,'” Wash. Post, 9 Aug. 2002, at T6.

The slightly less common error is to make *"whomever’s" a possessive, where “whosever” (traditionally) should appear. If you’re going to be formal enough to use a form of “whom,” though, it’s probably better to stick to “whosever” — e.g.: “Whomever’s [read Whosever] team wins in football has to play bailiff in open court for a day.” Julie Kay, “Hot-Tempered Broward Circuit Judge May Have a Lot of Enemies,” Miami Daily Bus. Rev., 27 Mar. 2002, at 1.

*Invariably inferior form.

I don't know the answer to the ancillary part of the question.

  • Brilliant -- I can't believe "whosever" hasn't crossed my mind as a valid rendition. I'll accept this for having answered my primary question, seeing as the peripheral inquiry is, well, that. Thank you!
    – user124856
    Mar 20, 2018 at 6:06
  • 1
    whosever rare whoever's en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/whosever
    – Kris
    Mar 20, 2018 at 6:35

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