Whether, weather, and wether
Whether, weather, and wether: what’s the difference?
These words aren’t too hard, but they are easy to mix up when we are typing quickly. And since autocorrect and I do NOT get along, I’m always looking out for these words.
The good news is, these words are homophones; meaning they all sound the same, even though they have different spellings.
1. whether = shows a doubt or choice between things
• I’m not sure whether it will rain tonight or not.
We often say “weather or not”. “Or not” is not necessary.
• Let’s see whether or not she’s home.
• Let’s see whether she’s home.
We can replace “whether” with “if”.
• I want to know whether or not you’ll be at the meeting on Friday.
• I want to know if you’ll be at the meeting on Friday or not.
When we use “if” and “or not” we do not put them together.
• Can you tell me whether the package is coming today or not?
• Can you tell me if the package is coming today or not?
• Can you tell me whether or not the package is coming today?
X Can you tell me if or not the package is coming today?
2. weather = rain, sunshine, wind, etc. in a time and place
• The weather is SO beautiful today. No clouds at all!
• I hope the weather clears up. I want to go to the beach.
3. wether = a castrated ram
• We have a couple of wethers on our farm.
• Whoops! I typed “wether” instead of “weather”.
You probably won’t need this last one, wether. I often find it in misspelled student papers or, honestly, in my own typing. I’m a fast but inaccurate typer and always on the look out for my own silly spelling mistakes.
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