+0
Which of the following are correct uses of 'whether...'?

Thanks

He played games when he was at school, whether it be soccer, cricket, or rugby.

He played games when he was young, whether it was soccer, cricket, or rugby.

You can buy food of all types from the cafe at my work, whether it is scones, muffins, or sandwiches.

There are plenty of fights at school, whether they are between two people or a group.
1 2
Comments  
Hi,

Can you please define a little what you mean by 'correct'?Emotion: smile

Clive
Hi,

Um, I suppose I mean, are the sentences grammatically correct? Are they correct?

Ta
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Hi,

So would you say 'correct' includes sentences that no-one is at all likely to actually say? That's often a key consideration on the Forum. And that's how I tend to view your examples.



Anyway, let me comment on them in more detail.

I view these as difficult to deal with. I see them as largely idiomatic.

In practice, you'd often hear simply this, where 'whether' is omitted.

He played games when he was at school, including soccer, cricket, and rugby.

He played games when he was young, including soccer, cricket, and rugby.

You can buy food of all types from the cafe at my work, including scones, muffins, and sandwiches.

There are plenty of fights at school, between two people or a group.

The 'whether' to my mind seems to add the suggestion that there was some difficulty in each of the things cited.

eg Tom loved activities that required courage, whether wrestling with lions or sky-diving.



In practice, when 'whether' is used I think the verb form would normally be omitted. eg

He played games when he was at school, whether soccer, cricket, or rugby.

He played games when he was young, whether soccer, cricket, or rugby.

You can buy food of all types from the cafe at my work, whether scones, muffins, or sandwiches.

There are plenty of fights at school, whether between two people or a group.

If you paid me money so that I had to use your kind of wording and focus on the tense, here's what might sound 'not completely terrible' to me.

He played games when he was at school, whether they were soccer, cricket, or rugby.

He played games when he was young, whether they were was soccer, cricket, or rugby.

You can buy food of all types from the cafe at my work, whether it is scones, muffins, or sandwiches.

There are plenty of fights at school, whether they are between two people or a group.

But these still all sound clumsy to me.

Clive

Hi

Thanks very much, Clive.

It seems I'm using 'whether...' incorrectly then, huh... I'm sure I'm using it the way I hear people saying it, but I could be wrong. Below is another example. Does this one work?

They will be using recyclable resources only because they know it will make them more profit, whether directly or indirectly.

Do you think I'm correct to say the meaning of 'whether...' in my examples is this:

'...whether it is this or that doesn't matter/is irrelevant'

Just to confirm, all my examples are incorrect-sounding to your ear?

The annoying thng is that 'whether' doesn't have a definition, so there is no real way to know for sure whether my sentences are correct or not (other than by reading and listening to the great many ways these are used in everyday speech and writing of course--the long and arduous method, which doesn't answer my question right away) Emotion: smile
Hi again,

It seems I'm using 'whether...' incorrectly then, huh... I'm sure I'm using it the way I hear people saying it, but I could be wrong. Below is another example. Does this one work?

They will be using recyclable resources only because they know it will make them more profit, whether directly or indirectly. Yes, sounds OK.

Do you think I'm correct to say the meaning of 'whether...' in my examples is this:

'...whether it is this or that doesn't matter/is irrelevant' Broadly speaking, the word has that meaning, yes.

Just to confirm, all my examples are incorrect-sounding to your ear? Yes, if that's what I said. I didn't reread it.

Here's something to think about. Let's consider a couple of simple examples.

eg I don't like people, whether male or female.

eg I didn't play games at my school, whether rugby, cricket or tennis..

In both examples, 'whether' suggests to me that these are the only alternatives.

Clive
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
CliveIn both examples, 'whether' suggests to me that these are the only alternatives.

But either wouldn't suggest these are the only alternatives?
Hi,

But either wouldn't suggest these are the only alternatives?

I wasn't trying to discuss 'either'.



'Either' deals with two alternatives. 'Whether' can encompass more than two, as in my 'games' example.

Clive
Hi,

I think what has thrown me off somewhat is that you differentiate between the word either and whether in all cases, whereas the dictionary gives a third definition of whether, which states the words can be synoymous. Perhaps this definition is not commonly used though (and perhaps none of my sentences above use whether in this way), so perhaps I should put it out of sight, out of mind.

3. ( coordinating ) another word for either : any man, whether liberal or conservative, would agree with me
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Show more