whether


whether
whether
1. For the choice between if and whether, see if 2.
2. When the alternative to the whether clause is a simple negative, this can take several forms, but whether or not is now more usual than whether or no:

• I brooded all the way whether or not I had hit the right note —Jane Gardam, 1985

• In many of Shakespeare's other plays, we see the tragic consequences of acting on hearsay or prima facie evidence without seeking to establish whether it is true or not —J. Baginni, 2002.

For whether or no, see no 3.
3. Whether is often repeated as a clearer marker than a bare or of an alternative that forms a separate sentence, especially when the gap between whether and or is a long one:

• You must decide yourself whether each new Beaver [= junior Scout] should be asked to pay for his scarf and woggle, or whether these should be provided by the Colony —J. Deft, 1983.

4. When a clause introduced by whether relates to a preceding word such as matter, issue, problem, or question, whether can follow directly or be separated by of:

• Senator Ervin said the issue of whether the subpoenas were continuing was ‘a difference in a teapot’ —Times, 1973

• The whole question whether women actually are more pacific by nature is not the subject of the present book —Antonia Fraser, 1988

• This…goes some way to answering the problem of whether there is free will in heaven —Christis Magazine, 2004 [OEC].


Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Whether — Wheth er, conj. In case; if; used to introduce the first or two or more alternative clauses, the other or others being connected by or, or by or whether. When the second of two alternatives is the simple negative of the first it is sometimes only …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Whether or no — Whether Wheth er, conj. In case; if; used to introduce the first or two or more alternative clauses, the other or others being connected by or, or by or whether. When the second of two alternatives is the simple negative of the first it is… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • whether — [hweth′ər, weth′ər] conj. [ME < OE hwæther (akin to Ger weder, neither) < IE * kwotero , which (of two) < base * kwo , who (> WHAT) + compar. suffix] 1. if it be the case or fact that: used to introduce an indirect question [ask… …   English World dictionary

  • Whether — Wheth er, pron. [OE. whether, AS. hw[ae]?er; akin to OS. hwe?ar, OFries. hweder, OHG. hwedar, wedar, G. weder, conj., neither, Icel. hv[=a]rr whether, Goth. hwa?ar, Lith. katras, L. uter, Gr. ?, ?, Skr. katara, from the interrogatively pronoun,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • whether\ ---\ or — • whether or • whether or whether 1. coord. conj. Used to introduce an indirect question. You must decide whether you should go or stay. I don t know whether Jack or Bill is a better player. Compare: either or 2. Used to show a choice of things,… …   Словарь американских идиом

  • whether — O.E. hwæðer, hweðer which of two, whether, from P.Gmc. *khwatharaz (Cf. O.S. hwedar, O.N. hvarr, Goth. huaþar, O.H.G. hwedar which of the two, Ger. weder neither ), from interrogative base *khwa who (see WHO (Cf …   Etymology dictionary

  • whether — ► CONJUNCTION 1) expressing a doubt or choice between alternatives. 2) expressing an enquiry or investigation. 3) indicating that a statement applies whichever of the alternatives mentioned is the case. USAGE Whether and if are more or less… …   English terms dictionary

  • whether */*/*/ — UK [ˈweðə(r)] / US [ˈweðər] / US [ˈhweðər] conjunction Collocations: Both whether and if can be used to introduce indirect questions of the type that expect a yes/no answer: She asked if/whether I liked jazz. Use whether, but not if, before an… …   English dictionary

  • whether — conjunction 1 used when talking about a choice you have to make or about two different possibilities: He asked me whether she was coming. | The decision whether to see her was mine alone. | whether or not: I coudn t decide whether or not to go to …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • whether — wheth|er [ weðər, hweðər ] conjunction *** 1. ) used when someone does not know which of two possibilities is true: They asked us whether we were married. There is some doubt as to whether the illness is infectious. whether...or: She doesn t even …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English


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