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Whether definition & meaning

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The game will be played whether it rains or not.

The game will be played whether it rains or not.

The police are investigating whether (or not) the death was a homicide.

The police are investigating whether (or not) the death was a homicide.

I had to decide whether or not to respond to his letter.

I had to decide whether or not to respond to his letter.

We’re going whether or not you decide to come along. = Whether or not you decide to come along, we’re going. [=we’re going if you decide to come with us and we’re going if you decide not to come with us]

We’re going whether or not you decide to come along. = Whether or not you decide to come along, we’re going. [=we’re going if you decide to come with us and we’re going if you decide not to come with us]

Whether we succeed or fail, we must try. It doesn’t matter whether you pay by cash or check. We’re going whether or not you decide to come along. = Whether or not you decide to come along, we’re going. [=we’re going if you decide to come with us and we’re going if you decide not to come with us] I had to decide whether or not to respond to his letter. The police are investigating whether (or not) the death was a homicide. The game will be played whether it rains or not.

— used to indicate choices or possibilities Whether we succeed or fail, we must try. It doesn’t matter whether you pay by cash or check. We’re going whether or not you decide to come along. = Whether or not you decide to come along, we’re going. [=we’re going if you decide to come with us and we’re going if you decide not to come with us] I had to decide whether or not to respond to his letter. The police are investigating whether (or not) the death was a homicide. The game will be played whether it rains or not.

— used to indicate choices or possibilities Whether we succeed or fail, we must try. It doesn’t matter whether you pay by cash or check. We’re going whether or not you decide to come along. = Whether or not you decide to come along, we’re going. [=we’re going if you decide to come with us and we’re going if you decide not to come with us] I had to decide whether or not to respond to his letter. The police are investigating whether (or not) the death was a homicide. The game will be played whether it rains or not.

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— used to indicate choices or possibilities Whether we succeed or fail, we must try. It doesn’t matter whether you pay by cash or check. We’re going whether or not you decide to come along. = Whether or not you decide to come along, we’re going. [=we’re going if you decide to come with us and we’re going if you decide not to come with us] I had to decide whether or not to respond to his letter. The police are investigating whether (or not) the death was a homicide. The game will be played whether it rains or not.

3 — used to indicate choices or possibilities Whether we succeed or fail, we must try. It doesn’t matter whether you pay by cash or check. We’re going whether or not you decide to come along. = Whether or not you decide to come along, we’re going. [=we’re going if you decide to come with us and we’re going if you decide not to come with us] I had to decide whether or not to respond to his letter. The police are investigating whether (or not) the death was a homicide. The game will be played whether it rains or not.

: if it is or was better She was uncertain whether to go or stay.

2 : if it is or was better She was uncertain whether to go or stay.

Did you ask whether [=if] they were going?

: if it is or was true that Did you ask whether [=if] they were going? I don’t know whether they were invited.

1 : if it is or was true that Did you ask whether [=if] they were going? I don’t know whether they were invited.

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they’ve only been married a very few weeks, whether or no

: in any case they’ve only been married a very few weeks, whether or no — Thomas Hardy

: in any case they’ve only been married a very few weeks, whether or no — Thomas Hardy

seated him next to her whether by accident or design

seated him next to her whether by accident or design

see me no more, whether he be dead or no

see me no more, whether he be dead or no — William Shakespeare

see me no more, whether he be dead or no — William Shakespeare seated him next to her whether by accident or design

used as a function word usually with correlative or or with or whether to indicate (1) until the early 19th century a direct question involving alternatives; (2) an indirect question involving stated or implied alternatives

— used as a function word usually with correlative or or with or whether to indicate (1) until the early 19th century a direct question involving alternatives; (2) an indirect question involving stated or implied alternatives decide whether he should agree or raise objections wondered whether to stay ; (3) alternative conditions or possibilities see me no more, whether he be dead or no — William Shakespeare seated him next to her whether by accident or design

— used as a function word usually with correlative or or with or whether to indicate (1) until the early 19th century a direct question involving alternatives; (2) an indirect question involving stated or implied alternatives decide whether he should agree or raise objections wondered whether to stay ; (3) alternative conditions or possibilities see me no more, whether he be dead or no — William Shakespeare seated him next to her whether by accident or design

— used as a function word usually with correlative or or with or whether to indicate (1) until the early 19th century a direct question involving alternatives; (2) an indirect question involving stated or implied alternatives decide whether he should agree or raise objections wondered whether to stay ; (3) alternative conditions or possibilities see me no more, whether he be dead or no — William Shakespeare seated him next to her whether by accident or design

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— used as a function word usually with correlative or or with or whether to indicate (1) until the early 19th century a direct question involving alternatives; (2) an indirect question involving stated or implied alternatives decide whether he should agree or raise objections wondered whether to stay ; (3) alternative conditions or possibilities see me no more, whether he be dead or no — William Shakespeare seated him next to her whether by accident or design

Examples of whether in a Sentence

Conjunction

That supposes I would have the wisdom to decide what is in fact right and what is wrong, and the humility to consider

whether

any action I could take would make things better or worse.

— P. D. James

,

The Private Patient

,

In his later years, Turing turned to the question of

whether

machines could be made to think the central question of artificial intelligence.

— Chuck Leddy

,

Boston Globe

,

If you tell me that something is a pleasure, I do not know

whether

it is more like revenge, or buttered toast, or success, or adoration, or relief from danger, or a good scratch.

— C. S. Lewis

,

An Experiment in Criticism

,

I don’t know whether they were invited.

She was uncertain whether to go or stay.

Pronoun

… we did not indeed know where it was, and so we might get a great deal, or a little, we did not know

whether

;  …

— Daniel Defoe

,

The Adventures of Captain Singleton

,

Recent Examples on the Web: Conjunction

At the conclusion of the hearing, slated to last three days, Judge Lisa Novak will determine whether there is enough evidence for Li and Bayat to stand trial before a jury.

Aaron Kinney, The Mercury News, 23 Feb. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘whether.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.


Grammar: How to use IF & WHETHER properly


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