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  1. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Whatever vs. Whatever

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by dillseed, Apr 21, 2014.

    Is whatever and what ever interchangeable in the following sentence? If not, which one do you prefer—the one-word or two-word form?

    (1) Whatever happened to the Unknown Comic?

    (2) What ever happened to the Unknown Comic?

    Thank you. :)
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It's two words when "ever" modifies "what." In your case, it's two words. If you're having trouble figuring out when to use two words and when to use one, insert the phrase "in the world" after "what" and before "ever." In your example, "What in the world ever happened to the Unknown Comic" makes perfect sense. That tells you that two words are required.

    Consider the following sentence: "Whatever is the matter with him?" In this case, "Whatever" is operating as an interrogative pronoun. Using what I said above, if we insert "in the world" after "what," it sounds odd ("What in the world ever is the matter with him.").

    I hope the "in the world" trick makes this easier to understand.
     
  3. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    I will never forget that trick.

    Awesome!

    Thanks for that.
     

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