[Grammar] whatever or whichever?

on the way

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I came across a passage part of which go as follows:" About 150 books sit on shelves in the phone box. Villages there can take whatever they want and leave their own books in exchange." My question is whether " Villagers can take whichever they want" is acceptable here. Or should we say "... take whichever book(s) they want" ? I'm really confused . Any reply will be appreciated. Thank you all.
 
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emsr2d2

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I came across a passage, part of which goes as follows: (space after a colon) "About 150 books sit on shelves in the phone box. Villages there can take whatever they want and leave their own books in exchange." My question is whether "Villagers can take whichever they want" is acceptable here. Or should we say "... take whichever book(s) they want"? I'm really confused. Any reply will be appreciated. Thank you all.

See above.

"Villagers can take whichever [book(s)] they want" works too. In fact, it's probably better than "whatever". A pedant might take "whatever" to mean that they can take the shelves, the door, the sign ...!
 
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