no matter when/whenever ~ may/ whenever

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Julianus

Senior Member
Korean
Hello.

1. a. No matter when he gets back to work, it might be too late.
b. Whenever he may get back to work, it might be too late.
c. Whenever he gets back to work, it might be too late.

2. a. No matter when I listen to the music, it makes me happy.
b. Whenever I may listen to the music, it makes me happy.
c. No matter when I listen to the music, it makes me happy.

My book says that 'no matter when' can be replaced with 'whenever ~may' or 'whenever' If so, do (a, b, c) completely have the same meaning?

Thank you always~.
 
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  • EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hello jullianus

    I'd say 1a and 1c are interchangeable in terms of meaning. (2a and 2c would also be interchangeable were they not identical.)

    1b and 2b express more uncertainty than the others by the use of 'may'. It's as if the speaker was not sure that 'he' will ever return or 'I' will ever again listen to 'the music'.
     
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    Julianus

    Senior Member
    Korean
    1b and 2b express more uncertainty than the others by the use of 'may'. It's as if the speaker was not sure that 'he' will ever return or 'I' will ever again listen to 'the music'.
    Then, when all the patterns have 'may' such as 'no matter when ~may ', 'wherever ~may', 'whatever ~may', 'no matter what ~may' and etc, do this patterns express more uncertainty than the patterns not having 'may'?

    3. a.Whoever calls me, tell them that I am busy now. b. Whoever may call me, tell them that I am busy now.
    4. a. No matter which you choose, everyone will like your choice. b. No matter which you may choose, everyone will like your choice.
    5. a. Whatever he says, you have to follow his words. b. Whatever he may say, you have to follow his words.
    6. a. Whichever team wins, I will be happy. b. Whichever team may win, I will be happy.
    7. a. No matter what work is given to me, I can do it. b. No matter what work may be given to me, I can do it.
     

    EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Then, when all the patterns have 'may' such as 'no matter when ~may ', 'wherever ~may', 'whatever ~may', 'no matter what ~may' and etc, do this patterns express more uncertainty than the patterns not having 'may'?
    Yes, but that's just the semantic aspect (which was what you were asking about in post 1), and that aspect is not, I'd say, the most important one.

    The use of 'may' in those sentences is more to do with style than certainty. 'May' makes them sound more gentle, literary and perhaps even a little old-fashioned.
     
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