It doesn't seem to be fair to the person whose idea it is

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nagomi

Senior Member
Korean
A: Are you not going to tell me what you are going to do?
B: Nope.
A: That doesn't seem to be fair to the person whose idea it is.

This is part of a TV show, and what happened before this conversation is both A and B are lawyers and A was dealing with his rival who's very strong. This rival of his always got ahead of him at every step of the way. So A was trying to come up with get the upper hand. B, his associate, suggests an idea: do something A would never do.

Actually I just gave the story to give the context, and my question is about grammar and it's how to use "whose". I found "not be fair to the person whose idea it is" comes as very new. I would've said "that doesn't seem to be fair to the person the idea belongs to." or "not be fair to the person whose idea is it (or that)." And I'd like to focus on the latter.

I tried to make my own sentence with it:
"Isn't it too harsh to the person whose birthday today is?"
"Who is it whose birthday is today?"

I don't know why "it" had to come first in A's line (That doesn't seem to be fair to the person whose idea it is). Would you help me with this?
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s a good construction that’s worth learning – but, as usual, there are several ways of saying the same thing.

    the person whose idea it is/was :tick::thumbsup:
    the person who [first] came up with the idea :tick::thumbsup:
    the person to whom the idea belongs :tick:
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    'Whose' can be used in a statement, as a relative pronoun, as well as in a question (as an interrogative pronoun in the sentence 'whose birthday is today?')

    Today we are having a party for Susanna, whose birthday is today.
    Today we are having a party for Susanna, whose birthday it is.
    Both of these mean "today we are having a party. Susanna's birthday is today.

    That doesn't seem to be fair to the person whose idea it is. = That doesn't seem to be fair to person X. It's his idea.
     

    nagomi

    Senior Member
    Korean
    'Whose' can be used in a statement, as a relative pronoun, as well as in a question (as an interrogative pronoun in the sentence 'whose birthday is today?')

    Today we are having a party for Susanna, whose birthday is today.
    Today we are having a party for Susanna, whose birthday it is.
    Both of these mean "today we are having a party. Susanna's birthday is today.

    That doesn't seem to be fair to the person whose idea it is. = That doesn't seem to be fair to person X. It's his idea.
    I still don't get why "whose birthday it is" is correct, but not "whose birthday is it" just like "whose birthday is today".

    Today is the object here, so is "it" in "whose birthday is it".
     

    Hannah Dickinson

    New Member
    English - United States
    I still don't get why "whose birthday it is" is correct, but not "whose birthday is it" just like "whose birthday is today".

    Today is the object here, so is "it" in "whose birthday is it".
    Hi!
    So this one of those matters where English proves to be a tricky language!
    Typically whenever we have an apostrophe then an “S,” it’s due to it being in the possessive form. However, that’s not the case with the words “whose” and “who’s.” Think of the words “whose” and “who’s” like the word “it.” “It’s” is the correct contraction of the words “it is” while “its” is the possessive form of the word.
    It’s (;)) the same way with “whose” and “who’s.” The possessive form of “who” is “whose” and “who’s” is the contraction of the words “who is” or “who has.”
    I hope this has helped!!!
    :)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I still don't get why "whose birthday it is" is correct, but not "whose birthday is it" just like "whose birthday is today".

    Today is the object here, so is "it" in "whose birthday is it".
    Today isn't an object. It tells us when the birthday is (linking verb).

    Whose idea is it? The idea is Mary's. Whose here is an interrogative pronoun. There is inversion because it's a wh-word question. (Like What time is it? or How much is it?)

    It doesn't seem fair to the person whose idea it is. Whose here is a relative pronoun, not an interrogative. Compare with these sentences with relative clauses, none of which have subject-verb inversion:
    This is the person who had the best idea.
    This is the person whose idea we adopted.
    This is the person whose ideas are always good.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I still don't get why "whose birthday it is" is correct, but not "whose birthday is it" just like "whose birthday is today".

    Today is the object here, so is "it" in "whose birthday is it".
    It’s Bill’s birthday [today].
    In this construction, today is an adverb (meaning on this day) and the subject of the statement is the pronoun It.
    Q: Whose birthday is it today? · A: Bill’s / It’s Bill’s birthday today.


    Today is Bill’s birthday.
    In this construction,
    today is a noun (= the current day/this day) that is the subject of the sentence.
    Q: Today is whose birthday? · A: Bill’s / Today is Bill’s birthday.

    Q: Who is it whose birthday it is today? · A: It’s Bill whose birthday it is today.
    Q: Who is it whose birthday is today? · A: It’s Bill whose birthday is today.

    Note that again “today” could be omitted in the first version (where it’s an adverb), but not in the second (where it’s a noun).
     
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