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I met a new word today. It's whichever. I kinda understood how to use it but I'm still confused in some situations. For example this one:

Whichever way you look at it (in?), it's a sad situation.

Should there be an in after it? kinda stupid question probably but sorry I have to know.

Or this sentence:

Whichever of those buildings Cambridge is, it doesn't matter because they are all beautiful.

Is it correct?

Also can you give me some more examples with explanations to them?

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  • Cambridge is not a building: Whichever of those buildings is new, etc.
    – Lambie
    Jan 30 '18 at 20:12
  • I have been speaking and writing English for decades and have never used nor needed 'whichever'. I find 'however' to be far more versatile, flexible, and well understood. "However you look at it, it's a sad situations."
    – EllieK
    Jan 30 '18 at 20:25
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It means "no matter which".

No matter which way you look at it.

There are similar constructions with "what" and "where"

Wherever you go = No matter where you go

Whatever you do = No matter what you do

There is a relatively old (1990-s) song, Right Here Waiting, the chorus of which contains such constructions: "Wherever you go, whatever you do..... Whatever it takes..."

In the sentence that you are puzzling over, there is no need for "in" (and it actually doesn't have anything to do with "whichever". Simply rephrase it as,

No matter which way you look at it...

Your second sentence is correct (assuming there is a building that is called "Cambridge"—I don't know if there is one).

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  • whoever, whomever, however, and probably more, too. :)
    – Lambie
    Jan 30 '18 at 20:13
  • @Lambie yes, of course Jan 30 '18 at 20:13
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In addition to the observation that @tenebris2020 made about the "no matter which" meaning, "whichever" can also mean "either one [that]" or "any one [that]".

For example:

Choose whichever dress flatters your figure the most. [any one dress that flatters...]

In very casual speech, you can even use "whichever" all alone to express complete indifference to the result of a choice (I do this all the time):

Q: Do you want red wine or white wine with dinner tonight?

A: Whichever. [meaning "either one"]

Note that you use "whichever" when selecting a single option from a fixed set of options (one dress out of your wardrobe, or one out of two types of wine in my examples). You use "whatever" for choosing among an unrestricted set of options, and "whatever" might also mean choosing more than one thing from that set:

She eats whatever she wants. [anything from an unrestricted set of options]

The same pattern applies to the other "...ever" words:

Visit whenever you want. [at any time]

Invite whomever you'd like. [any person]

I need to get to the hospital however I can. [by any method]

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