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Can someone please explain the difference in meaning/usage between 'whether' and 'either'?

I'll share what I already know:


  • One meaning of whether is identicle to that of either and in such cases can (sometimes??) be used as an alternative.


  • Their usual uses are different, however.


  • 'whether + S verb to be' can be reduced to just 'whether.' And I also think whether it be/is' can be shortened to 'be it.'


  1. One specific question: If the meainig of whether is 'either', can we ever have 'whether it is...'


I hope this is not too broad a questionEmotion: smile

Thank you

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Comments  
Hi,

Can you show us some sentences that illustrate what you are asking about?

eg Are you thinking of something like this? I love women, whether young or old.

Clive
Yes, that is an example of one of the uses I would like explained. Also, I would appreciate the difference in meanings when 'whether' isn't synonymous.
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Hi,

As I requested, please offer some actual sentences for us to comment on.

Thanks, Clive
Hi,

why not start with your sentence Emotion: smile

If you could tell me the meaning of 'whether' and 'either' in these and tell me which work and which have different meanings, that would be great, thanks. For example, I think 'whether' in a is synonymous with 'either' while in b, it has a different meaning. How do we know this?

a. He likes woman, whether young or old.

b. He likes woman, whether they are young or old.

c. He likes woman, young or old.

d. He likes woman, both young and old.

e. He likes woman, who are both young and old.

f. He likes woman, who are either young or old.

g. He likes woman, either young or old.

1. He like fishing, whether he catches something or not.

2. He likes fishing. Whether he catches something or not doesn't matter.

3. He likes fishing, regardless of whether he catches something or not.

4. He likes fishing. Regardless of whether he catches something or not doesn't matter.

1a. You must finnish this task on time, whether it is/be a challenge or not.

2a. You must finnish this task on time, be it a challenge or not.

3a. You must finnish this task on time, either a challenge or not.

Thanks hugely
Hi,

If you could tell me the meaning of 'whether' and 'either' in these and tell me which work and which have different meanings, that would be great, thanks. For example, I think 'whether' in a is synonymous with 'either' while in b, it has a different meaning. How do we know this?

Here's how I interpret these.

(You need to say 'women', not 'woman')

a. He likes woman, whether young or old. It doesn't matter if they are young or if they are old. They may also be neither, ie middle -aged.

b. He likes woman, whether they are young or old. Same as A. 'Either' does not fit grammatically.

c. He likes woman, young or old. Similar to A

d. He likes woman, both young and old. Similar to A.

e. He likes woman, who are both young and old. Sounds odd. Seems to suggest a woman can be both young and old at the same time.

f. He likes woman, no comma who are either young or old. Seems to suggest he likes one or the other, but not both. He doesn't like middle-aged women.

g. He likes woman, either young or old.Seems to suggest he likes one or the other, but not both. And doesn't suggest he likes middle-aged women.

1. He like fishing, whether he catches something or not. It's not important to him.

2. He likes fishing. Whether he catches something or not doesn't matter. Like 1, but more explicit.

3. He likes fishing, regardless of whether he catches something or not. Like 1.

4. He likes fishing. Regardless of whether he catches something or not doesn't matter. The second part is not grammatical,

1a. You must finish this task on time, whether it is/be a challenge or not. Doesn't matter.

2a. You must fnnish this task on time, be it a challenge or not. Doesn't matter.

If you have more questions, please include the relevant sentence. It makes things easier.

Clive
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Hi, thanks for that. I have the same meanings as you for most.

Here are two questions. I'm sorry there are not sentences.

1) I find it hard to differentiate between the meanings given for 'whether' and 'either' when they are used differently. Are you able to explain their meanings when used differently?

conjunction --weather

1.

(used to introduce the first of two or more alternatives, and sometimes repeated before the second or later alternative, usually with the correlative or):

conjunction --either

4.

(a coordinating conjunction that, when preceding a word or statement followed by the disjunctive or, serves to emphasize the possibility of choice)

2. Also, my dictionary says whether can mean either--even though you say that a works but not g. Can you explain this too please?
Hi,

weather whether

I prefer it if you offer sentences. It makes the discussion easier and more practical.

2. Also, my dictionary says whether can mean either--even though you say that a works but not g. Can you explain this too please?

I didn't say 'G' didn't work. I just said that I see the meaning as different.

I'll reiterate. In A, 'whether' suggests that the alternatives offered are not important, and that other alternatives may also be Ok (eg he may also like middle-aged women). In G, 'either' does not suggest this to me.

Clive
Thanks.

I gave you sentences above, and you didn't give me the meaning of whether and either; you gave me the meaning of the whole clause.

Is it OK if you give me the meaning of two of any above, both whether and either? Perhaps it is a bit difficult to define these words... Thanks for your patience.
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