whatever else N

From a presentation at Friday’s Stanford SemFest:

whatever else information ‘whatever other information’

spoken by Marisa Tice. Now it might have been an inadvertent error, but there are enough other occurrences to suggest that for some people (if not actually for Middy), else has picked up more of the syntax of other than it has in my variety.

A few more (of many) occurrences of whatever else information:

[in letter asking for a recommendation for law school] If you wouldn’t mind being my recommender we can set up a meeting in which I can give you my resume, personal statement, and whatever else information that you may need. (link)

Go to http://www.petfinder.com and enter your zipcode and whatever else information you want, and that will list you dogs and rescues that are available near you. (link)

I want to be able to see pictures of holes, distances, directions of how to get to a [golf] course, maps, and whatever else information there is about each course in North Carolina. (link)

With some other mass nouns:

We’ll be on site for events, announcements and whatever else news we can dig up while there. (link)

We have a lot of work done, but we need reviewers, editors and whatever else help we can get. (link)

However….it is very discouraging that there are people/families out there who have never worked and feel that they are intitled to food stamps, medicaid and whatever else assistance there is out there. (link)

I have to admit, every year when training comes around I cringe, however, every year AFTER, taking the BPO training, REO training and whatever else training I have to take to stay with certain companies, I’m so refreshed and better at what I do! (like) [from the world of Business Process Outsourcing]

Some with plural count nouns as well, like

I would love to be ur naughty secretary , or ur horny college girl or whatever else ideas you have hehehehhe. (link)

I hate Hockey, football, basketball or whatever else sports on tv but funnily enough love a live game. (link)

And with singular count nouns too:

With our [prosthetic] foot that we are inventing you can be active with it, and do all the same sports like running, walking, cheering, playing basketball, baseball, football, doing gymnastics and whatever else sport you want to do. (link)

For the players who hate the Ozark Tigers and whatever else team that play like jerks, just join this group if you love playing tennis!!! (link)

The mass noun examples are especially common (they’re beginning to grow on me, in fact), but all the types seem to be far too common to set aside as inadvertent errors in which else is retrieved instead of other.

[Note: things like whatever else people say,… are irrelevant, because they don’t have whatever else N as a constituent (NP) in them. Instead they have the NP whatever else, fronted in its clause, followed by a N that’s the subject of the subordinate clause.]

Now else has a number of uses, but the one of interest to us here is postposed else, which in the standard language combines only with indefinite pronouns, including interrogative (but not relative) WH-pronouns: someone else, someplace elseeverywhere else, nothing else, anybody else, who else (Who else was there? but *the people who else were there), whoever else. Else with indefinite pronouns alternates with prenominal other or another: some other person (*some person else), another person, some/every other place, another place, which/what other people, whichever/whatever other people.

Note the distinction between indefinite pronouns (which are NPs) and the related indefinite determiners: something/something/someplace versus some, etc. However, some of the WH items — whatwhichwhatever, whichever — can be used either as pronouns or as determiners: pronoun in what(ever) you found, determiner in what(ever) information you found. (For which(ever), the apparently pronominal uses, as in Which(ever) did you find?, have an understood N head, so that these uses represent a fusion of a determiner with such a head; I’ll get to them in a little while.)

In the standard language, postposed else occurs only with indefinite pronouns, not with indefinite determiners, even when these stand alone when fused with an understood N head:

pronoun in something else, determiner in *some else thing (instead: some other thing)

[There were pens in the box. I took some, and Kim took…] *some else (instead: some others)

and: *what(ever) else information (instead: what(ever) other information)

(Some else now occurs as a short version of someone else, something else, or somewhere else. There’s an Urban Dictionary entry, and a fair number of attestations. But such uses don’t have determiner some + else.)

But some people have relaxed this restriction to some degree, allowing determiner whatever to have postposed else (in addition to allowing other in construction with the following head N). The possibility has been extended to determiner what, as in

what else information can you give me about the ufc 70? (link)

And, though less frequently, to determiner whichever and which as well:

Visitors choose the adequate categories of interest to them and take their time in reviewing baseball scores, football scores, basketball scores or whichever else information they need. (link)

Apart from Schwimmer, which else cast member has directed at least one episode? (link)

And, finally, even more infrequently, to the fused determiners whichever and which:

Saving your boost construct ability for more slams or whichever else might be useful during that battle. (link)

Power Pak belonged to Gusto Records, which owned (or still owns?) material recorded for Starday and King and I forget which else. (link)

(Searching on {“whichever else”} and {“which else”} yields many irrelevancies — in particular, examples with else ‘otherwise’ and others with else referring to ELSE in programming languages.)

So whatever was going on in Middy’s presentation, postposed else has been advancing for a fair number of speakers, but these newer uses seem not to have become alternatives to other in the standard language yet; I don’t have examples from polished writing.



4 Responses to “whatever else N”

  1. B.Slade Says:

    You don’t think that the fronted NP construction (of the type “whatever else people say…”) could have played a role in the origin of “whatever else N”?

    I’m imagining something like “…and whatever else you said” X “…and whatever other thing you said” = “…and whatever else thing you said”.

    [I don’t recall hearing this construction before, and, as a native speaker, it strikes me as pretty strongly ungrammatical, though as a linguist I can certainly conceive of it.]

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      “You don’t think that the fronted NP construction (of the type “whatever else people say…”) could have played a role in the origin of “whatever else N”?”

      That’s possible for “whatever else N” but not plausible for “what else N” or “whichever else N”.

      But often innovations have more than one factor contributing to them.

  2. B.Slade Says:

    “I don’t know what else he said” X “I don’t know what other things he said” = “I don’t know what else things he said” ? Isn’t this possible?

    “Whichever else N”, I agree, doesn’t seem to be directly relateable in the same way.

  3. Solidification « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] while anywhere, somewhere, and nowhere [also everywhere] are always solid. This accords with the distribution of else vs. other, according to which every time functions syntactically as two words (every other […]

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