Either vs Whether

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What’s the difference between them?

Either

Meaning:

A conjunctive adverb signifying a choice between two statements or possibilities.

Examples:

1. Either you go or I'll go.

2. Either way, I'm happy with the decision.

3. You can either take the bus or the train.

Whether

Meaning:

Whether - used to introduce the first of two or more alternatives; to indicate a choice between two or more possibilities; in spite of the fact that; or to introduce an assertion or statement.

Examples:

1. Whether you want to go or not is up to you.

2. I'm not sure whether I should take the job or not.

3. Whether you believe me or not, I'm telling the truth.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference

Synonyms

Antonyms

Either

1. Both

2. Each

3. All

4. Any

5. Whichever

6. In either case

7. This or that

1. Neither

2. Neither side

3. Nor

4. Reverse

5. Opposite

Whether

1. Regardless

2. No matter

3. In any case

4. Be that as it may

5. Whatever the outcome

1. Disagree

2. Contrary

3. Refusal

4. Not applicable

5. No chance

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "Either", "Whether".

1. Think of 'either' when there's a choice between two alternatives. It often signals a selection between options.

2. 'Whether' is used when discussing possibilities or conditions. It's about considering whether something is true or not.

3. Typically involves a choice between two options. The 'either' emphasizes a duality.

4. Can involve multiple options or conditions. It's broader and doesn't limit the discussion to just two possibilities.

Check the full list of commonly confused words in English

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Frequently asked questions

In what situations should the first word be used?

'Either' should be used when you are presenting two options. It can be used to offer a choice between two things, or to indicate a preference for one thing over another. For example: 'Do you want tea or coffee? Either is fine.'

When is the appropriate context for using the second word?

'Whether' is used when you are presenting two possibilities or alternatives. It can be used to introduce a question, or suggest a doubt. For example: 'I'm not sure whether I should go to the theater or the movies tonight.'

Do the two words share the same pronunciation?

No, the two words have different pronunciations. 'Either' is pronounced 'EE-thuhr' and 'Whether' is pronounced 'HWEE-thuhr'.

What are some common mistakes people make when using these words?

One common mistake people make when using these words is using 'whether' when they mean 'either'. This is because both words indicate two possibilities, but they are used in different contexts. When using 'either', the speaker is giving someone a choice between two options, while when using 'whether', the speaker is presenting two possibilities.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. She couldnt decide ________ to go for the chocolate cake or the vanilla one.

2. ________ you choose the red or the blue dress, both will look great on you.

3. Im not sure ________ he will be attending the conference next week.

4. ________ it rains or shines, the event will continue as planned.

5. Ill be attending the meeting ________ way, so you dont have to worry.

6. We need to determine ________ this method is efficient for our purpose.

1. whether

Explanation: The sentence is introducing the first of two alternatives (chocolate cake or vanilla one). Whether is used to indicate a choice between two or more possibilities.

2. Either

Explanation: In this context, the sentence is presenting a choice between two statements (choosing the red or the blue dress). Either is suitable here.

3. whether

Explanation: The sentence is about a doubt regarding a single possibility (attending the conference), making whether the appropriate choice.

4. Whether

Explanation: This sentence introduces two conditions (it raining or shining), so whether is appropriate.

5. either

Explanation: Here, either is used as an adverb indicating in any case or anyway, signifying the inevitability of the action.

6. whether

Explanation: The statement is exploring the suitability of a method, offering a choice to determine its efficiency, hence whether is correct.

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List of Commonly Confused Words

Finding your way around the English language can be hard, especially since there are so many confusing words and rules. So, a list of the most confusing words in English is an extremely useful tool for improving language accuracy and sharing the ideas clearly.