It doesn’t matter what, when, where, etc.
When we add -ever after what, which, when, where, who or how, we are referring to one element and to every element described by the question word at the same time, it doesn’t matter which. For example, if we say, ‘You can sit wherever you want’, we mean that you can sit in some place and that this place can be any of all the available places, it doesn’t matter which.
In the grammar chart below you can see the meanings of these words and example sentences.
It means ‘anything’ or ‘everything’, ‘it doesn’t matter what’. For example, if we say, ‘Do whatever you like’, we mean that you can do any thing from all the possible things, it doesn’t matter which.
- You can be whatever you want to be; the only thing you need is hard work.
- I am very proud of all of you, whatever happens in the game tomorrow.
Whichever is similar to whatever, but we use it when we have a limited number of options. It means ‘any one (of a number of options)’, ‘it doesn’t matter which’.
- You can retire at 65 or after 40 years of employment, whichever arrives first.
- The price is a trip to one of our five available destinations. Choose whichever you prefer.
It means ‘at any time’ or ‘at every time’, ‘it doesn’t matter when’. If we say, ‘You can come whenever you want’, we mean that you can come at any time you want from all the possible times; it doesn’t matter when.
- I just go there whenever they tell me.
- I can meet you tomorrow, or whenever is more convenient for you.
It means ‘at any place’ or ‘at every place’, ‘it doesn’t matter where’.
- Be friendly, and you will find new friends wherever you go.
- Technology allows many people to work from wherever they want.
It means ‘any person who’, ‘it doesn’t matter who’. If we say, ‘Whoever finishes first is going to win a prize’, we mean that from all the people, any person who finishes first, it doesn’t matter who, is going to win a prize.
- Police are looking for whoever was responsible for this heinous crime.
- Whoever did this is going to pay for it.
It means ‘in any way’, ‘it doesn’t matter how’. It can be used in some different contexts, in which we could also find the word how without ever.
- When you buy your own house, you can customise it however you want. (=You can customise it in any way you want, it doesn’t matter how.)
- However much you think it costs, triple that amount. (=It doesn’t matter how much you think it costs.)