Language tip of the week: whether

Posted by on April 12, 2012

In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult. This week’s language tip is about two words that are easily confused, whether and weather.

Notice the spelling of the conjunction whether, and don’t confuse it with the noun weather, which sounds exactly the same.
✗ It does not matter wheather one is an optimist or a pessimist.
✓ It does not matter whether one is an optimist or a pessimist.
✗ The question is wether there is still a place for imagination in the world.
✓ The question is whether there is still a place for imagination in the world.
✗ … the issue of weather criminals need retribution or rehabilitation.
✓ … the issue of whether criminals need retribution or rehabilitation.

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Comments (2)
  • An easy way to remember the two words:

    Whether the weather be fine
    Whether the weather be not
    Whether the weather by cold
    Whether the weather be hot
    We’ll weather the weather
    Whatever the weather
    Whether we like it or not!

    Posted by Margaret Simons on 17th April, 2012
  • Thanks Margaret; I’d forgotten about that rhyme until you reminded me (of course it only works if you see it written down…)

    Posted by Liz Potter on 17th April, 2012
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