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Hello friends,

Is there any possibility that whose can be used in instances like these?

That is the book whose pages were ripped out.

Those are the trees whose roots were very much sought after as a cure for hair loss.

If not, how would I word the sentences above, if I wanted to begin my sentence with a demonstrative?

Thank you.
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Jerry's got a good point about whose not being a no-no in this usage, Gilbert.

The main point is that using a phrase like of which can get very awkward and even seem to "stop the flow" of an utterance. That's why most speakers use whose when it pertains to people or things.

Just compare these two:

  • This is the book the pages of which were torn out.
  • This is the book whose pages were torn out.

    I think you'll agree that the first sentence is much more awkwardly phrased than the second. I think you should stick with using whose rather than the ___ of which.

  • Whoa...! Now I'm confused...

    I know that whose is used for people but I swear I've come across sentences where whose is used in the manner I described (although I made those up myself as I could not remember the original).

    so which is which?

    Thank you as I know that you guys will take the time and trouble to explain this to me until I get it.
    Sorry, my friend. I didn't mean to confuse you, of course, but I'm not quite sure where your confusion is.

    To put it simply, it's much more common to hear whose used with people, animals, or things, so use it.

    Here are more examples to show you what I mean:

    with people: That's the couple whose daughter won a medal in the army.

    with animals: He's the guy whose dog gave birth to a litter of twelve!

    with things: I've never had a car whose engine runs on ethenol.

    I hope you're not confused anymore, Gilbert.
    Richard has expressed what Betty Azar states clearly in Chart 13-6, p. 274 in her advanced text*:

    "Whose usually modifies people, but it may also be used to modify things, as in (c):

    Mr. Catt has a painting. Its value is inestimable. =
    (c)Mr. Catt has a painting whose value is inestimable."

    I have a suggestion for some sentences about things when you don't want to use either "in (or another preposition) which" or "whose."

    How about:

    "¢ That's the book with the ripped-out pages.
    "¢ Those are the trees with the roots that people seek to cure hair loss.

    These sentences are less formal than the ones with :"whose," and even with sentences that have a preposition + "which."

    *Understanding and Using English Grammar, Third Edition, by Betty Azar. Longman 2002

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