Whatsoever Vs. Whatever

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Parergon, Sep 5, 2006.

  1. Parergon Senior Member

    Switzerland
    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!
     
  2. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    Cheshire
    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.
     
  3. la grive solitaire

    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
     
  4. Parergon Senior Member

    Switzerland
    Italiano, Italia
    So, in your eyes, it's just a matter of style (or, sound). Am I right?
     
  5. la grive solitaire

    la grive solitaire Senior Member

    United States, English
    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?
     
  6. french4beth

    french4beth Senior Member

    Connecticut
    US-English
    I think that the two mean pretty much the same thing - whatsoever is slightly more formal, slightly more emphatic, in my opinion.
     
  7. river Senior Member

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

    Buenos Aires
    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.
     
  9. Parergon Senior Member

    Switzerland
    Italiano, Italia
    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?
     
  10. la grive solitaire

    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.
     
  11. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    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.
     
  12. Tchara New Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    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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