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    #1

    whatever in affirmative sentences

    Can I use the adjective "whatever" as in "Do you have evidence whatever to support your theory?"? Or it can only be used in negative sentences "There's no evidence whatever to support your theory."?

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: whatever in affirmative sentences

    I consider 'whatever' to be a determiner here. Its use is certainly not restricted to negative sentences, and your first sentence is acceptable.
    Last edited by 5jj; 16-May-2012 at 15:04.

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    #3

    Re: whatever in affirmative sentences

    Personally, I find that sentence very odd.

    For me, that falls into the catagory of "not incorrect, but extremely unlikely to be said." However, that could simply be a personal thing.

    Do you find it natural, or simply acceptable?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #4

    Re: whatever in affirmative sentences

    I agree, it is very odd. My first thought was that it was wrong, perhaps it's not but I would say that it's definitely unnatural.

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    #5

    Re: whatever in affirmative sentences

    I would almost certainly use 'at all' rather than 'whatever', but the original did not strike me as particularly unnatural. I have just searched under 'any [nn*] whatever' in COCA and found several examples of similar sentences.

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    #6

    Re: whatever in affirmative sentences

    "Do you have evidence whatever to support your theory?"

    It sounds not quite right to me without the "any", and I think I would be more likely to hear "whatsoever", especially in the negative.

    "Do you have any evidence whatsoever to support your theory?"
    and
    "There's no evidence whatsoever to support your theory".

    I agree that "at all" would be much more usual in both cases.


    not a teacher

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    #7

    Re: whatever in affirmative sentences

    The "any" makes a big difference.

    Is there a difference between "any evidence whatever" and "any evidence whatsoever"?

    Any hope whatsoever, any evidence whatsoever, any trace whatsoever... those sound natural.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #8

    Re: whatever in affirmative sentences

    Is there a difference between "any evidence whatever" and "any evidence whatsoever"?

    I don't think so, it's just that in my neck of the woods I'd probably hear "whatsoever" more often.

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    #9

    Re: whatever in affirmative sentences

    This is what my dictionary says "2 not used before a noun : of any kind or amount at all : whatsoever ". If it already means of any kind or amount at all, would there be a need to put any before the noun "evidence"?

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    #10

    Re: whatever in affirmative sentences

    My apologies to all. despite reading the original several times, especially after bhai's and Barb's responses, which surprised me slightly, I simply did not notice the absence of 'any' . My mind assumed it was there; it was only when JMurray mentioned 'any; that I checked again.

    So, I agree with all of you - it's not natural.

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