Possessive interrogative determiners belong to a closed class of words call determiners. Determiners provide information such as familiarity, location, quantity, and number about a noun, pronoun (rarely), or noun phrase. The only possessive interrogative determiner in English is whose. Whose both (1) expresses possession of or some other relationship to another word or phrase, like the other possessive determiners, and (2) asks questions about unknown nouns and noun phrases, like the other interrogative determiners. Do not confuse whose as a possessive interrogative determiner with whose as a possessive interrogative pronoun, which are similar in form but different in function.
In grammar, a determinative is a word or phrase that expresses additional information such as definiteness, proximity, quantity, and relationships about a noun phrase and that differs from an adjective phrase, which describes attributes. In the English language, the possessive interrogative determiner functions as a determinative. Examples of possessive interrogative determiners as determinatives include the following:
- Whose house is for sale?
- Whose child dragged mud into my living room?
- Do you know whose team won last night?
- Whose tea and crackers are this?
- You want me to buy whose car?
- Whose dog chased whose cat into whose kitchen?
Possessive Interrogative Determiner as Determinative
Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.