Whatever!!

July 21, 2009

When did this word become an appropriate response to behavior alternatives posed by adults to children? As in,

“Well, you can either clean up your room, or lose the DS for a week.”

“Whatever!!”

Clearly there is a “disconnect” here between the parental perception of the gravity of the situation and the perception held by child.

The word “whatever” functions in three different ways: as a pronoun, as an adjective, or as an adverb. Merriam Webster’s Online dictionary states that when used as an adverb, the word is “sometimes used interjectionally to suggest the unimportance of an issue or a decision between alternatives.” AHA!! The kid must be having “adverb” trouble, and is in need of an adjustment.

So, the next time some punk kid says “whatever!” in response to a point you are trying to make, you may wish to express to him or her that perhaps they are unaware of the meaning of the word, and consequences of their situation. In my opinion, you would be doing that person a disservice by not enlightening them as to the importance of the issue or decision between alternatives you have posed. It is up to you to choose the form of “enlightenment”, but I have always believed that a swift kick in the butt does the trick quite nicely.

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