Whether to use rather or whether, that is the question

by Sharon
(Ar)

These definitions still leave me confused.

Whether-(pronoun) used in expressing a choice or alternative.


Rather-(adverb) more willingly, more readily, by preference.


Example: Whether you buy from the neighbor store or a specialty shop from another country, you want the best value for your money.

Comments for Whether to use rather or whether, that is the question

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 29, 2019
Thanks
by: Audrey

Thank you, Mo, for your clear explanation.

Oct 29, 2019
definitions
by: Mo

It may help to understand that the word "whether" is not a pronoun. It is a conjunction and is used to introduce one or more alternatives.

Example: Please decide whether or not you would like to go out.

Rather is an adverb and is usually used to indicate degree or preference.

Example: I would rather stay home.

Oct 06, 2019
Which is correct
by: Betty

We are cold whether we are young or old. Or we are cold rather we are young or old.

Audrey replies:
We are cold whether we are young or old.

Aug 01, 2019
Whether or Rather
by: Anonymous

I want to see whether or not she can make progress.

From Audrey: You are correct in this case.

Sep 07, 2016
Which word whether or rather
by: Anonymous

Which word to use whether or rather it be a small or large issue.

From Audrey: In this case, use whether. Whether it be a small or large issue.

Jan 26, 2013
Not quite
by: Audrey

Your sentence is not quite correct. Here is why:

1. Cofetionery is not a word. Perhaps you mean confectionery.
Specially should be especially.

2. You need either "confectioneries are" or "the (or a) confectionery."

2. You are missing commas.
I think that cofetionery, at least for me, is gratifying, specially when rather a member of my family or a friend likes it.

3. You do not need the word rather.

My guess is that you meant to write

I think that the confectionary, at least for me, is gratifying, especially when a member of my family or a friend likes it.

PS. Strictly speaking, the opening "I think that" is unnecessary since the whole sentence is the writer's opinion.

Jan 25, 2013
please help me
by: Anonymous

I just wanted to know if this sentence is ok: I think that cofetionery at least for me is gratifying specially when rather a member of my family or a friend likes it.

Jul 05, 2008
Parts Of Speech
by: Audrey

Hello Sharon,

First of all, although you may be confused by the printed definitions, I doubt that you would ever put one of these words in place of the other. For example, I doubt that you would ever write

RATHER you buy from the neighbor store or a specialty shop from another country, you want the best value for your money.

That's because you can't replace one part of speech for another in a sentence. I'm sure you know the difference between nouns and verbs.

Here's an example of trying to replace one part of speech with another...

1. I saw two chairs and a table.

2. I saw two chairs and an eat.

You would never make that mistake because we can't replace a noun with a verb.

But you also said you had trouble with the definitions.

Here is my take on why that may be the case...

You are confusing having alternatives with having a preference for something.

The word WHETHER is about alternatives. Often we say, WHETHER OR NOT to signal that one might choose one thing or the other.

The word RATHER indicates a preference. I can say, I WOULD RATHER BE TALL. But I don't have a realistic alternative.

I hope this explanation helps.

Others may have additional insights.


Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Pesky Writing Problems.

Meet your writing goals in 2021

Click to start NOW


Now you can edit your own work.

Click to learn how


Free Newsletter

Sign up below for

Editor's Notes 

Inspiration and Writing Tips 

and receive tips 
to maximize 
your use of MS Word.
 

Click for more information 
and archived copies...
 

Or sign up using the form below 
to start your subscription right away.

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)
Then

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Editor's Notes.