Whatsoever Vs. Whatever

Parergon

Senior Member
Italiano, Italia
I would like to know your opinion about the difference,in meaning and usage (if there is any of it), between whatsoever and whatever.

Thank you very much!
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    There will be a better answer than this, but the current usage of "whatever" is mainly limited to surly people being dismissive of someone else's contribution to a discussion. It is used as a single word in that context and is really not polite.
     

    la grive solitaire

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    Hi Parergon,

    To me at least, yes, there is a difference. I like whatsoever, even though (or because) it's a little old-fashioned. I find it the more forcefu lof the two--perhaps because it has four syllables rather than three? :D


    For example:

    I want nothing whatever to do with your half-baked plans.

    I want nothing whatsoever to do with your half-baked plans.

    See what I mean? ;)


    These links may help you get a sense of the difference:

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/whatever

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/whatsoever
     

    Parergon

    Senior Member
    Italiano, Italia
    Hi Parergon,

    To me at least, yes, there is a difference. I like whatsoever, even though (or because) it's a little old-fashioned. I find it the more forcefu lof the two--perhaps because it has four syllables rather than three? :D


    For example:

    I want nothing whatever to do with your half-baked plans.

    I want nothing whatsoever to do with your half-baked plans.

    See what I mean? ;)

    These links may help you get a sense of the difference:

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/whatever

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/whatsoever
    So, in your eyes, it's just a matter of style (or, sound). Am I right?
     

    la grive solitaire

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    So, in your eyes, it's just a matter of style (or, sound). Am I right?
    In the examples that I've given, yes; but the two aren't always interchangeable. As usual, context is all-important. Were you thinking of a particular situation/context?
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    I believe "whatsoever" is considered obsolete in BE, but it's a matter of style in AE.
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    I disagree, river, I personally use it quite a lot, especially when emphasis is required. Recently in another thread we were discussing the translation from Spanish about women who had had no education and there I used 'women who had had no education whatsoever' in order to stress that point. My English is decidedly BE and I don't think I'm the only dinosaur from the UK who is still using whatsoever.
     

    Parergon

    Senior Member
    Italiano, Italia
    I disagree, river, I personally use it quite a lot, especially when emphasis is required. Recently in another thread we were discussing the translation from Spanish about women who had had no education and there I used 'women who had had no education whatsoever' in order to stress that point. My English is decidedly BE and I don't think I'm the only dinosaur from the UK who is still using whatsoever.
    I am in accord with Porteño, I've been hearing 'whatsoever' living in London.

    La Grive Solitaire: "As usual, context is all-important. Were you thinking of a particular situation/context?"

    No, I was not thinking of a peculiar context or sentence.
    ** Would you be able to explain me when they are not interchangeable?
     

    la grive solitaire

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    I disagree in terms of AE, too, river. The example for whatsoever in the free dictionary link I gave (no power whatsoever) is a perfect example of the difference between the two. Although their meaning is the same, whatsoever is far more emphatic.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The OED lists whatever as an alternative for whatsoever.
    I suppose the meaning is the same, but I agree that whatsoever is more emphatic. It also seems more quaint - a little archaic.
    Whatever you do, don't assume they are always interchangeable.
    Whatsoever you do ....?
    Well you could say that I suppose, but it's a little biblical.
     

    Tchara

    New Member
    English, USA
    Salve,
    My ancient Webster's [Seventh New Collegiate] Dictionary defines whatever first as a pronoun [all words in brackets are mine]: 1a. anything or everything that, b. no matter what [e.g., Whatever happens, leave immediately when the fire alarm goes off.], c. what not, 2. What (when used in questions expressing astonishment or perplexity) [e.g., Whatever was Janet Jackson thinking when she wore a top with removable parts?] and second as an adjective: 1a. any...that: all...that, b. no matter what [e.g., Whatever way you do it, just get it done!] 2. of any kind at all.
    It goes on to define whatsoever as whatever...and leaves it at that.

    I would have to say that whatsoever means the same thing as whatever [these days] in only one sense: of any kind at all. For example, to paraphrase an old nursery rhyme: Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard and found no food whatsoever. For me, the word has no other usage whatsoever. ['Whatever' could be used in both of the preceding sentences in the same manner.]

    'Whatever", unfortunately, has become popular as an answer when the person is less than enthusiastic about doing something. For example: [to a child], "You need to clean your room." [Response], "Whatever."
    It's a verbal shortcut for "Whatever you want, Mom." or "Whatever job you want me to do, Mom.", but it is not heard in a positive tone of voice.
    One would not use "whatsoever" in place of "whatever" here.
     
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