(Whose) Who's bright idea was it to leave the refrigerator open?


Have a look at the following dictionary entry, line 5:

enter image description here

Who's bright idea was it to leave the refrigerator open?

Source: Merriam-Webster’s Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary under the entry: bright

Is that an error in the dictionary? Shouldn't the example be as it is on the online dictionary:

Whose bright idea was it to leave the refrigerator open?

I'm guessing the example shows how people confuse whose bright idea for who's bright idea, but the dictionary does not mention that.


Posted 2016-09-22T04:11:33.617

Reputation: 6 070

Question was closed 2016-09-22T16:21:22.117

5The example in the dictionary is not what you have posted. It is: Whose bright idea was it to leave the refrigerator open? The editors of the The Merriam-Webster dictionary are acquainted with elementary English. The possessive form of the pronoun who is whose, not who's. Where did you learn otherwise? Your sentence parses as: Who is bright idea was it to leave the refrigerator open? – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica – 2016-09-22T04:29:30.403

I meant an online copy of the same example not a version. Since it turned out that it was a typo from the source then I got the answer. Closing the question would be reasonable. – learner – 2016-09-22T05:29:01.413

I've edited your question with the image you provided. Please check that the dictionary citation is correct. – Lawrence – 2016-09-23T02:41:09.590

@learner The editors of the desktop version of the MW learner's dictionary should be notified of this error, which may have come about because much of the work of creating such applications is outsourced to knowledge workers whose first language is not English. If you will create a screen shot which also includes the Merriam-Webster logo, I or another reader here will see that they are apprised of the error. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica – 2016-09-23T04:27:22.080

The writing on the snippet is so tiny. Could you possibly enlarge the screenshot? – Mari-Lou A – 2016-09-23T06:26:36.127



"Whose bright idea" is correct.

"Whose" is the possessive form of "who", like "his" is the possessive form of "he". For example, I might say, "This is HIS book", meaning, this is the book that belongs to "him" (whoever "him" is in context). If I don't know who owns the book, I might ask, "Whose book is this?"

Are you thinking that "who's" is possessive, like "Bob's" is the possessive for "Bob"? It's not, though I can see how this could be confusing. "Who's" is a contraction for "who is" or "who has". You might ask, for example, "Who's going on the camping trip?", i.e. "who is going", or "Who's got my wallet?", i.e. "who has got".


Posted 2016-09-22T04:11:33.617

Reputation: 51 729