I'm not really all that mysterious

Fake Grammar Rules

I don’t know/remember who to blame for teaching me the bogus rule that you can’t use “whose” to refer to nouns that are not people, but I find myself constantly second-guessing myself when I do use it.

Whose for Inanimate Objects • Can you use “whose” to refer to inanimate objects? • 2008 May 23 • Bonnie Mills •

In some cases, you might be able to use of which, but most of the time your sentence will sound stilted and your sentence flow will be ruined. The three major sources I referred to all agree that of which is not an ideal solution to the whose conundrum.1,2,3 The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style states, “This is one case in which the cure could be worse than the disease.”

  1. American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005, pp. 505-6.

  2. American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Fourth edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006, p. 1965.

  3. Burchfield, R. W, ed. The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage. Third edition. New York: Oxford, 1996, p. 563.

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