Whether vs Whether or not : GMAT Verbal Section
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# Whether vs Whether or not

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Whether vs Whether or not [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2008, 22:51
Could one you please point out the rules pertaining to the usage of Whether or not.

Whether is preferred over IF in gmat. ALso , whether is preferred when contemplating between two alternatives, but what's the deal with Whether or Not.

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Re: Whether vs Whether or not [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2008, 22:59
You're correct, whether is preferred typically on the GMAT.

If is mainly used in the subjunctive mood.

Whether is preferred over whether or not, as the "or not" is redundant-- whether implicity implies (heh) that it's either yes or no, if you think about it, whether or not literally means "yes or no or no".
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13 Jul 2016, 09:01
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You're correct, whether is preferred typically on the GMAT.

If is mainly used in the subjunctive mood.

Whether is preferred over whether or not, as the "or not" is redundant-- whether implicity implies (heh) that it's either yes or no, if you think about it, whether or not literally means "yes or no or no".

The "or not" portion of "whether or not" is often unnecessary and can be removed, but sometimes it is essential. Here's the trick: "Whether or not" should be used when one's response is the same, regardless of the outcome. Conversely, "whether" should be used by itself to indicate only that the outcome itself is undetermined.

Think of the expression that children use when playing hide-and-seek: "Ready or not, here I come!" Without the "or not," it would have an entirely different meaning.

For example:

"I am not sure whether or not I can attend" / "I am not sure whether I can attend or not" could be shortened to read "I am not sure whether I can attend". In these cases, the "or not" can be safely removed.

However,

"I will be there whether or not I am prepared" / "I will be there whether I am prepared or not" cannot be shortened to read "I will be there whether I am prepared".

Please let me know whether this explanation is understandable. Whether or not I succeed at explaining these concepts, I will keep trying. ; )
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Re: Whether vs Whether or not [#permalink]

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25 Jul 2016, 12:35
Agree with the above. Just a quick note that you will more likely see questions that test "if" vs "whether" -- rather than "whether" vs "whether or not" --- so with "if" vs "whether" -- the answer is almost always "whether" when talking about two conditional possibilities.
Re: Whether vs Whether or not   [#permalink] 25 Jul 2016, 12:35
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