When I looked it up in the Oxford Dictionary, I learned that “whose” is not usually used to refer to a thing and “of which” is usually used instead. But later I came across an example sentence from a dict app, which said “They speculated in property, whose value now has dropped”. In my view, “whose” is more simple in terms of expression. So maybe using “whose” to refer to a thing is not very correct on grammar, but still used often?

Screenshot from Oxford Dictionary

  • Please capitalise the word "I", e.g. "When I looked up" ..., not *"when i looked up ..."..
    – BillJ
    Apr 8, 2019 at 8:27

1 Answer 1


Your picture is of a book whose author is wrong on this particular point. There is nothing wrong with using "whose" to refer to a thing.

Here is a Google Ngram comparison of the phrases "book whose author" and "book the author of which". (The phrase using "whose" has always been many times commoner.)

  • 2
    I don't think the author is wrong because the book says "is not usually used". This, to me, implies that 'whose' for an inanimate object is grammatically correct but much less common than 'of which'. Like you I don't really agree with the author but I think that the OP has misinterpreted 'not usually used' as 'incorrect' which I don't believe the author meant at all.
    – BoldBen
    Apr 8, 2019 at 7:44
  • So which one is used more in spoken or written English?
    – user323406
    Apr 8, 2019 at 8:17
  • In spoken English we would be likely to rephrase (as your dictionary says). In written English I would think of which is far more common. It seems that many people are uncomfortable using whose to refer to something inanimate, either because they feel themselves that, strictly speaking, it is only for people, or because they know that their readers might feel that way. IMO it's perfectly correct, but there's no denying that many people think it's wrong.
    – user339660
    Apr 8, 2019 at 13:11

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