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Your English: Word grammar: wherever

Type: Article

Whereverpossible, Tim Bowen tries to help out those who struggle with word grammar.

Wherever normally functions as a conjunction but it can also be used as an adverb.

As a conjunction, it is used to connect two clauses with the meaning 'everywhere or anywhere someone does something' or 'where a particular situation exists', as in 'Wherever he went, he took his dog with him’ or ‘Garlic is a plant that grows wherever there is a warm climate’. It can also be used to mean 'in any place that you choose', as in ‘You can sit wherever you like’ or 'in any situation where something is possible or necessary', as in ‘We aim to reduce prices wherever possible’. In the latter use, it can often be replaced by whenever.

As an adverb, wherever can be used to emphasize where in a question to show that you are surprised, interested, upset or annoyed, as in ‘I’ve been looking all over the place for that letter. Wherever did you find it?’ You can also use wherever to show that you do not know where something is, for example ‘He said he was phoning from Landsford Park, wherever that is’. In spoken English, wherever can be used to show that you do not care where something happens, because all the places are equally good or suitable, as in ‘Do you want to eat in the kitchen or in the dining room?' 'Wherever. It really doesn’t matter to me’. If used as a single word answer to questions like the latter, however, wherever can seem offhand or even rude, as in ‘Shall we go to an Indian restaurant or would you prefer to go to an Italian place?’ ‘Wherever.’

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