"Eat whatever you want."
Translation:Mangez ce que vous voulez.
while it is frustrating while learning, I do appreciate that an example sentence like this makes you see the subtle difference in the use of "whatever"
I think "whatever" is often better translated "n'importe quoi," in this case leading to "mange n'importe quoi," which might be a more accurate translation, depending on the context (n'importe quoi would be more familiar).
No, that would not work. When "whatever" is alone, yes it means "n'importe quoi". But whatever you want means that you can pick everything you like, not "anything" which is pejorative.
Yes, I know what pejorative means, I want to know why you think "anything" has that connotation. It's pretty neutral from where I'm standing.
"anything " vs "something" or "all" or "whatever" would be prefered as a pejorative word if the French were : "mange n'importe quoi", wouln't it?
I just don't see where you're getting pejorative from. N'importe quoi certainly means "anything", but it isn't 'pejorative' in any sentence I can think of.
In French "n'importe quoi" means "anything, including irrelevant things".
Si l'Europe a un sens, elle doit remettre un peu d'ordre dans ce qui est devenu la loi du n'importe quoi.
If Europe has any sense, it needs to restore some order to what has become the law of anything goes.
I think of "n'importe quoi" as more informal than pejorative, like "eat whatever the heck you want" instead of simply "eat whatever you want."
Imagine some kids bragging that they'll eat anything and everything: "On mange n'importe quoi" versus "On mange ce qu'on veut" -- both are valid, and both take on different connotations. N'importe quoi suggests a sort of indifference to what it is: if it's in front of me, I'll eat it. Ce qu'on veut, on the other hand, suggests intentionality: I'll eat what I choose to eat.
In that context, "Eat what you desire" = "Mange ce que tu veux" (everything is tasty) "Eat whatever you want" = "Mange n'importe quoi" (I don't really care)
My understanding of this might be connected to the American usage of the one-word expression "Whatever!". Some of my english/french speaking pals will make a 'W' with their hands (symbolizing "Whatever!") while saying "N'importe quoi!"