How often do you add new words to your vocabulary list? Most people don't bother about new words because they think that figuring out how to use some words in their writing is a lot of work. However, learning about "whether definition, meaning, and usage" is the easiest thing you can do.
The word "whether" means "a choice between some alternatives." It is a conjunction meaning that it will connect or link other words, phrases, or clauses together. It makes it easier to create complex sentences that would otherwise be two separate sentences.
Since the word in focus today is a conjunction, this article will be detailed and technical. Don't worry; we promise it won't be anything near quantum physics. We will discuss all there is to know about the word "whether"; its definitions, uses, similar words and sentences that incorporate the word. Here we go!
What Is the Definition of Whether?
The word "whether" is defined as "alternatives to indirect questions." Whenever you see this word in a sentence, you'll realize there is a choice, option, or possibility to the indirect question.
You'll also note that the word applies when changing a question from direct to indirect. For instance, the question "Is the museum open today?" is direct since the question is directed to someone. If you were to change it to an indirect question, it would become "Joel asked whether the museum is open today."
Here are some more indirect questions that incorporate the word whether:
- Tracy asked me whether I wanted to go with her to the new Spiderman movie private screening.
- My mum wanted to know whether the Tesla SUV was safe to drive in all weather conditions.
Whether as an Introductory Word
The word "weather" is also defined as a conjunction used to introduce two possible outcomes or possibilities that may happen. You can link any two outcomes, provided you know how to use the word. The word isn't discriminative based on the situation.
For example, in the sentence "May gets to keep the money whether she wins or loses." The two possibilities are introduced by the word "whether." In this case, the outcomes are a win and lose.
Here are more example sentences:
- Whether they confess or deny it, the case will continue as planned.
- Whether he wins or loses, this is Nadal's last tournament this season.
What Is the Meaning of Whether?
The word "whether" also means "a conjunction that describes two situations." Use the word in sentences with two reasons why something happened.
For instance, when someone says you passed an exam, whether by studying or cheating, they give the possible reasons you passed your exam. When used in this context, it's evident that the person communicating is in doubt. They are not sure how you managed to pass a particular exam. You should be careful when using this word to describe two situations because it might sound negative sometimes.
Here are some more examples explaining the same:
- Michael made it back to the base, whether by skill or luck.
- Whether he cleans up his act or gives up the position, I don't believe he's the right person for the job.
Whether as a Functional and List Word
"Whether" is also used as a function word. In such cases, it shows a direct question with two possibilities. When used in this format, the word is commonly used with the correlative or.
Here are example sentences:
- Angie can't decide whether to leave Derrick or leave him after she catches him cheating with another woman.
- After he read the statement, we couldn't decide whether to agree with the conditions or raise concerns.
When used as a list word, it gives options about things or people. You can have a list of as many things as you want. The advantage of using the word in this form is that you communicate a clear message despite the choices. You can also show that the options are okay for those involved.
Here are example sentences:
- Whether it's a desert tour or a charity event, Weston, Timothy, and Antonee, have no issue with your choice.
- Whether the Mathematics, Chemistry, History, or Literature class will follow next or not, Gregg and Clint will not attend.
How to Use Whether in a Sentence
"Whether" is a conjunction without a noun, adverb, or adjective version. In addition to using this word to show alternatives and two situations, you can also use it as an adverbial clause and when not sure of two situations.
Whether When Used to Introduce a Clause
The word "whether" is also used as a conjunction that introduces disjunctive adverbial clauses. However, the clause must qualify as the primary clause of the sentence. The word applies where the outcome will remain constant regardless of the two possibilities.
Other alternatives used in place of "whether" are regardless of whether, regardless of if, or notwithstanding if.
Here are example sentences:
- I won't leave my son in this dysfunctional household whether you allow it or not.
- I believe the word on the street is that Amber will leave Luke, whether he likes it.
The phrase "whether" is also used in indirect questions where the person asking is unsure which of the alternatives is correct. The word is commonly used alongside or as a double conjunction.
Here are example sentences:
- Due to the recent shooting at the mall, Sally doesn't know whether her daughter is dead or alive.
- Tracy looked at my hand and then proceeded to ask me whether I was still married or not.
10 Examples of Whether Usage in a Sentence
The above sections let you know the various meanings and uses of the conjunction "whether." Let us now help you understand how to use the word correctly. The ten sentences below have incorporated the conjunction in different scenarios.
Once you're done reading these sentences, make a few more, and keep reading. You'll be surprised how fast your comprehension is, especially with practice.
- I'm not sure whether Diana will make it to Vermont this Christmas after the snowstorm alert was issued on TV yesterday.
- Whether you love or hate them, fourth-graders, namely Kyle, Stan, Eric, and Kenny, make South Park fun to watch.
- Jenny told me that her father had already booked a flight for her and that she was leaving whether she liked it or not.
- Whether we go by rail or road, the journey ahead will be challenging for us due to the weather conditions.
- Whether you love him or hate him, Derrick Rose was one of the best point guards in the NBA.
- Once I made my way past the front door, the first question I asked her was whether or not Henry had gone out.
- Whether you believe it or not, car makers make money off mid-level sedans and not supercars.
- I fear that the engine in this car might fail at any time, whether it overheats or not.
- LeBron James will leave the Lakers this season, whether you like it.
- I honestly don't know whether the answer was correct since I wasn't paying any attention.
How Do You Spell Whether?
The conjunction "whether" is spelled as w.h.e.t.h.e.r.
The word has seven characters. Like a few English words, it's easy to confuse "whether and weather." Be keen not to make a spelling mistake. However, it's hard to confuse the word whether with its other rhyming words like leather, feather, and all together.
How Do You Pronounce Whether?
Pronounce the conjunction" whether" as [weh.thuh].
The term "whether" is easy to pronounce; however, it should not be confused with its homophones. The best way to differentiate closely related words is to check which word you're pronouncing. To learn how to pronounce the word correctly, listen to podcasts and English tutors, then practice pronouncing the word. Make sure their accent matches what you want.
How Many Syllables Are In Whether?
The word "whether" has two syllables; wheth.er. Always stress the first syllable -wheth to pronounce the word correctly.
History & Etymology of Whether
The conjunction "whether" comes from the Old French word hwæðer, which means "which of two." This dates back to the 17th century.
The word also traces its roots from the Germanic *gihwatharaz, the Old Saxon hwedar, which means "which of the two." The word is also made up of khwa and theraz, with the former meaning who and the latter meaning "either of the two." The meanings these root words had are still in use today.
When Was Whether First Used?
The 12th century is the first known use of "whether." However, the word was first recorded as an English word in the 1650s.
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Learning new words is the new normal; nevertheless, knowing about conjunctions such as "whether" is just as vital. These conjunctions are responsible for connecting other words or phrases. We believe that you won't have any challenges using "whether" in your sentences in the future. Do not forget to always go back to this "whether definition meaning and usage" article if you have any challenges using the word.
Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.