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Sentence: "More than allegations and politics I am interested in knowing whether Goldman Sachs's director Rajat Gupta really made the money through insider trading or one of them paid on his behalf"

My question/doubt: Is the use of conjunction "whether" right in the above mentioned sentence ? Or the sentence would do without it ?

Thanks
Comments  
"whether" is correct and required. Without it the sentence wouldn't make sense.
"If" also works in that spot.
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whether and if are both useful in introducing an indirect yes-no question.

I'm interested in knowing the answer to this question: Did the director really do that?

becomes

I'm interested in knowing if the director really did that.

or

I'm interested in knowing whether the director really did that.

So, to answer your question, whether is correct and cannot be omitted, though if may substitute.

CJ
Hi guys,

To my mind, 'whether' tends to suggest there are only two alternatives,

eg I am interested in knowing whether A or B . . .

On the other hand, 'I am interested in knowing if A or B . . .' leaves more open the idea that there may be other possibilities, which I am not interested in knowing about.

Consider these examples.

eg I am interested in knowing whether you like tea or you like coffee.

eg I am interested in knowing if you like tea or you like coffee (but you may like Coke or you may like Pepsi).

Best wishes, Clive
CliveConsider these examples.

eg I am interested in knowing whether you like tea or you like coffee.

eg I am interested in knowing if you like tea or you like coffee (but you may like Coke or you may like Pepsi).
Curiously, to my ear the second example sounds like just as much a choice between two things as the first. It wouldn't have occurred to me to add the part about Coke or Pepsi on either one, and yet I do have an inkling of the difference you're referring to.

On the other hand, sometimes there is no third or fourth choice, and to my ear both whether and if serve equally well in those cases.

I'd like to know whether you like tea or not.
I'd like to know if you like tea or not.

From what you've observed, it seems that you might prefer the first of those two, because whether seems more appropriate to you for a two-way choice. Is that right?

And then what about whether with three choices? Would you find whether inappropriate and choose if instead?

I don't know whether he wants tea, coffee, or Coke. ???

I don't know if he wants tea, coffee, or Coke. ???

I wonder how many other speakers sense a difference of that kind between whether and if, and why.

Emotion: smile

CJ
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Hi Jim,

Original sentence: "More than allegations and politics I am interested in knowing whether Goldman Sachs's director Rajat Gupta really made the money through insider trading or one of them paid on his behalf"

Yes, I rather feel that 'whether' is best with two alternatives, although I know there are sometimes more than two.

What seems a little odd to me in the original sentence is that the two 'choices' do not really seem to me like obvious alternatives. I'd expect something like

. . . whether Goldman Sachs's director Rajat Gupta really made the money through insider trading or he earned it legitimately.

The way the original is written, the two things just sound to me like 'here are two things I am interested in knowing'.

Clive
Thanks to all. You folks are so helpful. Emotion: smile