1. Leonardo Pisano
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    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

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    Whose

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Leonardo Pisano, Jul 1, 2011.

    I always thought "whose" is used in relation to persons. "Jim, whose book was stolen, took his bike to rush home." But someone told me it can also be used with things, like in "The car, whose window was broken, needed to be repaired."

    The latter sounds awkward and I would be inclined to work around. However, the main question is: can "whose" be used in relation to non-persons ?
     
  2. MRD
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    MRD Senior Member

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    If you want to personify an inanimate object, I don't see any problems. In fact, I've seen it countless times in literature.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i wouldn't use it that second way... and would find it odd/unacceptable if i saw it used in that way...

    as for the correctness [or not] of doing so, why don't you check it out on one of the many good grammar websites and let us know what the concensus is...

    question: are 'why don't you/why not' sentences considered questions enough to make a '?' mandatory at the end?
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    For your car example, I'd do something like "The car, which had a broken window," or "The car with the broken window." I think "whose" for an inaminate object looks weird -- but "whose" for animals is perfectly fine.
     
  5. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    whose
    determiner (relative possessive) /ho͞oz/ 
    Of whom or which (used to indicate that the following noun belongs to or is associated with the person or thing mentioned in the previous clause)
    - he's a man whose opinion I respect

    pronoun /ho͞oz/ 
    Belonging to or associated with which person
    - whose round is it?
    - a minivan was parked at the curb and Juliet wondered whose it was


    Well, that's pretty definitely aligned with people, isn't it? :) Animals is okay too (see below), because as we all know, apes are people too.

    ... Well, if it's phrased as a question, it's a question, isn't it? So why don't you check it out on one of the many good grammar websites?

    This.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i was looking for a consensus of opinion among members, not a rule, cru... guess i should have been more specific, to escape your tit-for-tat-ery...
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that when it is, it's anthropomorphizing the thing, and is therefore a rather whimsical, informal usage.

    ChickenFreak
     
  8. MRD
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    MRD Senior Member

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    Hah.

    If you want a large flurry of opinions, then you may want to find a topic that extends beyond the correct usage of the word "whose".

    Something more open for interpretation like, say, "Romance in Fiction: Love it or Loathe it?". Or something like that...
     
  9. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    General consensus should be that it would be a question. So far as I know, anything starting with "why" is a question, unless you've really got your **** together and know how to use it properly. Still, "why don't you/why not" would be the start of a question.

    She's talking about her question relating to whether a sentence starting with "why don't you/why not" is actually a question or whether you can forgo the question mark.
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If it is not a question, then I'd leave out the question mark in order to convey that to the reader. Example: someone is causing trouble in a bar, for example, and the bartender says "Why don't you just go ahead and leave." With the period at the end, the bartender is clearing telling the person to leave, not asking them. If a question mark appeared at the end, it gives it a different connotation, namely that it really is being presented as a request.
     
  11. MRD
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    MRD Senior Member

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    Ah, my bad.

    In that case, a sentence can begin with "why" and not be a question. (Example: "Why, what a big nose you have.")

    And I suppose "why don't you/why not" can be used as a statement, or a command, rather than a question. (Example: "Why don't you take a seat, the master will be with you shortly.") Although, I'm not sure if that should be considered a rhetorical question...

    Damn, where's a grammar god when you need one...
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    good point, counselor!
     
  13. [ESCAPE]
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    [ESCAPE] Member

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    Personally, I thought you could only use it when referring to people. Unless, of course, you're trying to animate/personify the context. Not sure, though.
     

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