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curmdgeon.GIF (1254 bytes) Curmudgeons' Corner

Gordon Brown, this week's Guestmudgeon, says

I certainly agree with David Gowrie's complaints in Issue 119 about who's ever. And I'm reminded of another very prevalent abuse these days: using whatever completely alone. As you point out [regarding whoever], it's a pronoun. A pronoun does not constitute a complete sentence. We were always taught in school that to qualify as a sentence, an utterance must express a complete thought. Whatever means "anything or everything that" or "any ... that" [Webster], which ostensibly lacks a target to complete the thought. It's probably a shortening of "whatever you say" or "whatever the case may be", and even those aren't really complete thoughts.

Another misuse, particularly of whenever, is now endemic among schoolchildren. They use it for when: "Whenever I get home today, I'll call you." Admittedly, whenever could fit properly, with a shift in the meaning of the sentence (no matter what time I get home). But this isn't what the kids mean in this usage.

Barb and Malcolm say "Welcome to the Curmudgeons' Club!"  What drives Malcolm batty is the sullen tone with which whatever (as a single sentence) is often uttered (usually by a teenager to an adult).

Is there something you read or hear that sends you up the wall?

Do tell us.  

Read this before commenting on this week's Curmudgeons' Corner

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