What ever & whatever

Discussion in 'English Only' started by intstebri, Oct 28, 2007.

  1. intstebri Member

    A little town around Montréal
    Canada - Québec - Français
    I need to know the exact difference between these two : 'whatever' and 'what ever'.

    I don't even know if the 'What ever' could exist, in fact (in two distinct words).

    For the context: someone ask me for precisions about a writer's group challenge. I gave her a very long and detailed explanation, thinking she was interested to know about it and probably join the group.

    Her answer had been: " What ever... ", exactly wrote like that (in the cotation marks) and I'm not enough 'English' to understand if she need more informations, if she didn't understand what I sent to her or if she don't care about it.

    Could you, please, be gentle and explain it to me?

    Edited to correct the mistakes I could find!
  2. Avignonais Senior Member

    USA, Anglophone
    Her response is rude, implies she doesn't care, and grammatically incorrect. The correct version would be "whatever," which is a relatively recent way of saying, "I don't care about whatever the heck you are talking about". However, for emphasis it is pronounced with a slight pause: "What-ever".

    I don't think the two word version of "whatever" exists.
  3. marget Senior Member

    What ever can be used in a sentence such as What ever made her say that? Both forms are correct there. However, that context is different. I agree with Avignonais that the response was rude.

    By the way, intstebri, I would have said "Someone asked me for details .... thinking she was intersested in knowing about it and probably in joining the group... Her answer was...written exactly like that (in quotation marks)...I don't know enough English to figure out if she needs more information, if she doesn't understand what I sent her or if she doesn't care about it."
  4. intstebri Member

    A little town around Montréal
    Canada - Québec - Français
    Thank you, Avignonais, for your explanation, I won't have to work this hard anymore to explain things to her, that would spare me a large amount of time. I do appreciate.

    If you read that thanks, the fact this person is Texan could be change her meaning? (My friend just told me that different places in USA could have different meanings, sorry I wasn't aware of this, otherwise I would have add this information in my question.)
  5. intstebri Member

    A little town around Montréal
    Canada - Québec - Français
    You are very kind to correct me! Each time, I learn a bit more about English and it's very helpful. Sorry for all this mistakes, I'm still at the beginner level of my course... Thank you very much.
  6. Avignonais Senior Member

    USA, Anglophone
    Means the same thing in Texas. "Whatever", by itself is just a rude way to stop an exchange.

    Thanks, Marget; you are right. I wasn't able to think of a sentence where "What ever" could be used.
  7. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I agree wholeheartedly with Avignonais' interpretation.

    As to the grammatical point, the OED distinguishes between "whatever", used in a generalising sense; and "what ever", used in questions.

    For example:

    "Whatever she says, don't let her into your group"

    "I don't know what ever to do about that awful woman who wants to join my group".

    So the woman was not only being rude but also writing incorrectly:eek:. I wouldn't let her join your writers' group even if she begged you!

  8. intstebri Member

    A little town around Montréal
    Canada - Québec - Français
    Hi Loob, I'm taking good care of your advise! Unfortunately, that group was made for beginner writers, so I can't refuse her on account of her writing, but I certainly will on account of her rudeness! (And it's very funny to try to guess how many of this horrified :eek: smilies you could be tempted to fullfill my own beginner's writing with ;))


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