Whenever: conjunction

The conjunction whenever means ‘every time that’ or ‘any time that’.

We often use whenever with the present simple:

  • Our dog barks whenever someone walks by our house. [= every time someone walks by]
  • He gets depressed whenever it’s cold and dark.  [= every time it’s cold]

We can also use whenever with the past simple:

  • Whenever David thought of her, he pictured her in a long dress. [= every time he thought of her]
  • Whenever I saw him, he was always carrying a plastic shopping bag.  [= every time I saw him]
  • The school was closed whenever it snowed heavily.  [= every time it snowed]

We also say whenever possible:

  • I try to eat healthily whenever possible[= when I can]
  • Whenever possible, parents should check their children’s homework. 


Whenever (adverb)

Whenever is sometimes an adverb:

  • A: When shall I pay you the money back?
    B. Whenever. It’s not important.

We also use whenever in questions instead of ‘when’ to express that we are surprised or disbelieving:

  • Whenever do you find the time to go shopping? You’re always at work!

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