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Should You Say “Whenever” Or “When Ever?”

Compound words can be tricky for English speakers because they utilize pre-existing words. However, they also have special rules that apply to them. This goes for “whenever,” which is a commonly used conjunction that can introduce clauses into a sentence. 

In short, “whenever” usually acts as a noun in English grammar, referring to time. In contrast, when “when ever” takes the form of two words, it can often look like a spelling mistake. However, it does have a specific use. 

What Does “Whenever” Mean? 

“Whenever” is a word that usually means “no matter to time” or “whatever time.” It is used to refer to when action occurs and at what time it will occur. In other words, “whenever” is a way to tell people that there is no time constraint! For instance: 

  • Don’t worry too much about the deadline; you can turn in your work whenever! 
  • This job does need to get completed today. However, you can begin whenever you want. 

What Does “When Ever” Mean? 

It may seem as though “when ever” is a grammar mistake, which is technically true. You can use it in cases where you want to be emphatic or creative. In doing so, “ever” will be emphasized within your sentences. Although it is technically correct/possibly to use “when ever,” you should mainly stick to “whenever,” especially if you are doing academic or formal writing. Take a look at these sentences that use “when ever:” 

  • When ever will you stop making that awful noise! 
  • When ever will you start to take me seriously? 


In the end, “whenever” is the correct spelling of the term and can be used to say that an action doesn’t have a marked deadline. You can sometimes use “when ever” if you want to emphasize the “when” in your sentences. In any case, it is probably best for you to stick to “whenever.” 

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By Ryan Fisher

Ryan holds degrees from Pacific Lutheran University and specializes in proofreading, editing, and content writing with an emphasis on business communication.

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