"which" = whose

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Jun 28 15:24:35 UTC 2008

At 6/28/2008 11:17 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>About 25 year ago I became alarmed by the tendency of some freshmen
>to avoid "whose" with a nonhuman, nonanimal antecedent (not that any
>of them used complex very often).
>Instead of "whose" (or "who's," as it was usually spelled when
>used), the unpracticed writers produced "that's," "which's" and
>"which."  Here is an ex. of the latter, from an otherwise well
>educated Amazon.com customer. This is the first I've seen in
>generally fluent prose:
>: The atomic bomb was NOT designed to end wars without commitment of
>manpower on the battlefield as the author contends. The A-bomb was
>another weapon, which potentiality we only discovered after its use.

Is this a shortcut for "the potentiality of which [we only
discovered]"?  Perhaps the writer(s) are thinking (correctly, I
presume) "I would not write 'the potentiality of whom' about an
inanimate object", and therefore think "whose potentiality" would be wrong.

Have you seen "which's potentiality" yet?


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