Not much time today, but I'm getting back to a few questions that readers have asked. Joanna asked me a while back about "who's" and "whose" and I answered her in an email but thought I'd do that one here too.
Remember when we discussed "its" and "it's"? The trick is thinking of the apostrophe as a tiny "i" and reading it that way out loud. If it doesn't make sense to read "it's" as "it is" then leave the apostrophe out. There are, of course, more technical explanations, but that will suffice for the quick memory trick.
The same goes with "who's" and "whose". "Whose" is the possessive form of "who", and I'm sure you remember that we don't use apostrophes with possessive pronouns. You do remember that, right? Good. "Who's" is simply a contraction of the words "Who is", as in "Who's eating all my Peppermint Bark?" (If you answer "Me," you're in trouble.)
When you write "who's," please stop and think of that apostrophe as a tiny little "i" and read "Who (i)s eating my candy."
"Whose shoes are these in the middle of the floor?" If you try to read "whose" as "who is", this sentence will not make sense, so it cannot therefore require an apostrophe.
And by the way, some of you are still ignoring or flagrantly disregarding Granny's instructions about "its" and she is heartbroken that her long explanation seems to have been ineffectual. She fully expects peer pressure to begin to shape you up in the New Year. Yes, 2009 :-)