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Whenever I Hear This, It Drives Me Nuts

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Aug 21, 2012 8:42:32 AM

I've become a fan of both The Voice and The Biggest Loser. Yes, it is true. However, the grammar on both shows' latest seasons has me pulling my hair out.


Let's begin with The Voice, in which the judges begin with their backs to the singing contestants and only turn around if they like what they hear. One of the judges last season repeatedly uttered a cringe-inducing variation of the following statement:


"Whenever I heard you sing, I just knew I had to turn my chair around."



Whenever is used to indicate something that happened, or happens, with regularity over time. Following are some correct examples.


Past tense:

  • Whenever our parents took us to the zoo, my sister and I always headed straight for the giraffes.
  • Whenever my brother had a day off, he and I would try to catch a matinee.


Present tense:

  • Whenever I have free time, I squeeze in an afternoon nap.
  • Whenever she sings that song, I get chills.

When is used to indicate something that happened, or happens, just once. Following are some correct examples.


Past tense:


  • When I arrived that morning, I had no idea what to expect.
  • When I heard you sing, I just knew I had to turn my chair around.


Present tense:


  • When I see him, I will give him your message.
  • When we're done playing soccer, let's go for a beer.


Let's move on to The Biggest Loser, where a contestant had come to terms with her grandmother getting voted off the show. She told the camera she was "okay with it whenever it happened."


I wasn't! You see why?


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at


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Mar 8, 2018 5:24 AM scbarbara    says:

But it is possible to say "I always feed the stray cats when I see them. " 

THis is a repeated action meaning every time I see the cats I feed them.....

I think the difference is  whenever is for unexpected actions, whereas when is for more definite actions. The same sentence with whenever would change the meaning to' On the odd occasion that I see the cats.....

Hope this helps

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