I'm confused about using whatever as a determiner. Can someone say whether we can use human nouns (like people, person, boy...) after "whatever"?

e.g.He will support whatever candidate wins.

  • 1
    Used to modify nouns it doesn’t function as a determiner but as an adjective: whatever boy Oct 14, 2014 at 6:35
  • I think this possibly isn't right, it possibly ought to be "whichever". But if "whatever" for a person is an error it's one small enough that most people wouldn't notice.
    – A. B.
    Sep 28, 2021 at 10:11

3 Answers 3


As a determiner: "used to emphasize a lack of restriction in referring to any thing or amount, no matter what"

Based on this definition(from a dictionary), it should be used on things/amount. So saying "Whatever people/person/boy..." is not appropriate but you could use something like "Whatever kind of people/person/boy..." because here it pertains to the word "kind" not the "people/person/boy".

Another example is "Whatever people/person/boy are/is doing...". Here the "whatever" pertains to the word "doing" not the "people/person/boy".

  • Do you think that The Code of Federal Regulations of the United States of America is wrong? Oct 14, 2014 at 8:33
  • I won't agree or disagree with The Code of Federal Regulations of the United States of America but what I can tell is that based on definitions I found from different dictionaries it is used for things or amount but not on "humans" especially when it is used as a determiner.
    – jim_nr
    Oct 14, 2014 at 8:54
  • It's not a determiner here, it's an adjective and can be used with humans. Check this Oct 14, 2014 at 8:57
  • Whatever is also an adjective which means "any...or any that is not know yet" but its use before a "person" is uncommon. You have a good point @Lucian Sava. In your reference here I believe "whatever" refers not to the "Person A" but to "what Person A is offering".
    – jim_nr
    Oct 14, 2014 at 9:09
  • 1
    I just think -ever endings are merely extensions of "What", "Which", "Who". In Lucian's example, whatever person to mean undetermined person, as in "what person would do this?" (from a set of unknown people). When you use "whichever person", it comes from a determined choice (from a set of known people) - "Which person did this?". "Whoever" already includes the person, so you can drop the noun that follows it. "Whoever did this..."
    – Snowy Oz
    Jan 21, 2015 at 6:55

Let's punctuate your questions correctly:

I'm confused about using whatever as determiner. Can [space after a period, capitalize the first letter of a sentence] anyone say whether we can use human nouns [space](like people, person, boy... [an ellipsis has three dots not two]) after "whatever"?

E.g., He will support whatever candidate wins. ["E.g." is Latin so italicize it.]

A noun refers to a person, place, or thing. For a person use "whichever," and for a place or thing use "whichever."


You can use ANY noun you want - depending on the context of your sentence and what you are wanting to say!

Whatever girls do is beyond me. Whatever the driver was thinking about almost got him killed. Order: Get to your room! Reply: Whatever Whatever Dave says is fine by me! Whatever you want honey.

It all depends on how you construct your sentence. But any noun can be be tacked onto the end of whatever.

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