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Me and a friend are arguing about this case and I'm trying to make the point that a sentence such as:

Whose your daddy

Is incorrect because the pronoun whose means of which and not who is.
My friend, on the other hand, is trying to make the point that the usage of whose in the sentence shown above is correct.

Which one of us is correct?

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, Cascabel, Mari-Lou A, ab2, David Jul 7 '17 at 12:56

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  • Just a point Gabriele. You started your question with "Me and a friend are aguing", this is a common grammatical error even among native English speakers, though usually working class ones, and is similar to the "My father gave some money to my brother and I" form which is the middle class equivalent error. It's ever so easy to get it right, simply change the sentence so that you are just talking about yourself (I was arguing with a friend) and you will see which pronoun you should use. It is more usual to put the other person first when you do that (A friend of mine and I were arguing). – BoldBen Sep 22 '16 at 12:29
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You are correct; "Whose your daddy" is not grammatical.

Perhaps the confusion is due to the pronunciation similarity between the two phrases, which may have caused your friend to associate it with the incorrect transcription. This phenomenon is also seen when distinguishing "your" and "you're", as noted in "Your" vs. "you're": Why the confusion? .

Edit to quote sources and provide explanation: "Whose your daddy" doesn't make sense because "whose" is a possessive adjective, or a pronoun, as in

  • Whose book is this? (adjective)
  • Whose is this? (as pronoun)

Any complete, grammatical sentence with these forms requires a verb; in those two examples, the verb is "to be". In Whose your daddy?, there is no verb, and hence it is not a sentence. The second form, Who's your daddy?, contains a verb "is", contracted with a pronoun "who", to form "who is your daddy?" or "who's your daddy?"

Another useful way to look at this is to imagine replacing "your daddy" with the pronoun "this"; such a noun-to-pronoun replacement is always legal. The first "sentence" would then become "whose this?", which doesn't make sense. The second would become "who's this?", which is a perfectly valid question, often asked to a person on the opposite end of a phone call.

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