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# To this day, researchers and theorists debate whether bubonic plague c

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Re: To this day, researchers and theorists debate whether bubonic plague c  [#permalink]

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03 Jul 2016, 04:41
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To this day, researchers and theorists debate whether bubonic plague caused The Black Death, a pandemic that swept the world in the middle of the fourteenth century.

whether - Correct.

whether or not - Redundant.

as to whether - Debate as to - incorrect.

if - Wrong.

Whether is generally used when we have alternatives , why is it a correct choice here

Whether is used if we are not sure of the outcome i.e. if we have a uncertainty about something. For e.g. John is not sure whether he'll score 760 on the GMAT [or not].
The negative side [or not] is usually not mentioned explicitly.
If is used when we want to state a condition. For e.g. John will throw a party, if he scores 760 on the GMAT. Here, a condition is given on the result.

Please give kudos if this all makes sense !
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Re: To this day, researchers and theorists debate whether bubonic plague c  [#permalink]

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03 Jul 2016, 07:54
whether: correct

whether or not: wrong usage. 'whether or not' is never acceptable.

as to whether: wrong

if: whether is preferred over if.

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Re: To this day, researchers and theorists debate whether bubonic plague c  [#permalink]

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03 Jul 2016, 10:03
ashwini86 wrote:
To this day, researchers and theorists debate whether bubonic plague caused The Black Death, a pandemic that swept the world in the middle of the fourteenth century.

Whether is generally used when we have alternatives , why is it a correct choice here

You are correct whether is used for alternatives and here it is no exception as well...

The researchers and theorists are debating whetherthe cause of Black death was X or something else.........

In a debate there is bound to have a difference of opinion ( Causes for Black death ), hence " WHETHER " to the best of my knowledge is working fine here, no issues with that , only the sentence does not mention the other causes/factors that might be responsible for causing Black death...

More discussion on the topic here -

to-this-day-researchers-and-theorists-debate-whether-85317.html?fl=similar
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Re: To this day, researchers and theorists debate whether bubonic plague c  [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2016, 11:06
Can someone explain why C is wrong ? Is it purely because of wordiness or is it grammatically wrong ?

Thanks
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Re: To this day, researchers and theorists debate whether bubonic plague c  [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2016, 14:22
1
target760gmat wrote:
Can someone explain why C is wrong ? Is it purely because of wordiness or is it grammatically wrong ?

Thanks

C is gramatically wrong. The verb "debate" does not take the preposition "about".

Correct: The politicains debated the law.
Wrong: The politicians debated about the law.
Correct: The politicians debated whether the law would be benificial. ("debate whether" does not take " about" either)
Wrong: The politicians debated about whether the law would be benificial. ("debate whether" does not take " about" either)
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Re: To this day, researchers and theorists debate whether bubonic plague c  [#permalink]

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28 May 2017, 22:34
hogann wrote:
To this day, researchers and theorists debate whether bubonic plague caused The Black Death, a pandemic that swept the world in the middle of the fourteenth century.

A. whether
B. whether or not
D. as to whether
E. if

"Whether" is the most concise way to indicate that researchers and theorists are debating between alternative causes of the pandemic.

(A) CORRECT.  This sentence is correct as written for the reason stated above.
(B) "Whether or not" is redundant; "whether" by itself indicates the full meaning.
(C) "About whether" is both redundant and awkward.
(D) "As to whether" is both redundant and awkward.
(E) "If" is used to indicate a condition or a future possibility, but this sentence is not indicating either of these things.  "Whether," which introduces a choice or an alternative, is the correct usage.
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Re: To this day, researchers and theorists debate whether bubonic plague c  [#permalink]

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29 May 2017, 07:24
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'About' is a preposition. It takes only a noun or noun phrase following it. It cannot precede a clause such as in C
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Re: To this day, researchers and theorists debate whether bubonic plague c  [#permalink]

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24 Mar 2018, 22:17
I thought it was C, so some word does not require idiom?
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Re: To this day, researchers and theorists debate whether bubonic plague c  [#permalink]

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10 Nov 2018, 21:30
If there is an option over whether, will it be right?
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To this day, researchers and theorists debate whether bubonic plague c  [#permalink]

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11 Nov 2018, 15:07
1
akshaykotha wrote:
If there is an option over whether, will it be right?

akshaykotha , although you did not ask about the word "debate" used as a verb or a noun, the distinction is important.

If (1) debate were a verb as it is in this case; and
(2) there were two choices, debate whether and debate over whether; then
(3) we would choose debate whether.

As a verb, debate means to argue about. We do not need another preposition such as "over."

DEBATE AS A VERB

Correct: Members of the teachers' union debated the contract.

Correct: Members of the teachers' union debated whether to accept the contract.

Incorrect: Members of the teachers' union debated over whether to accept the contract.

The last sentence is equivalent to saying:
Members of the teachers' union argued about over whether to accept the contract.

IMPORTANT: If debate is a NOUN, "debate over whether" and "debate over" are both correct

DEBATE AS A NOUN
HERE is a recent official question in which debate is a noun and "debate over" is used.

I have seen a few idiom collections in which "debate over" is listed. I suspect that these lists may be the source of your question.

(1) that "debate" in the "idiom list" case is a noun

(2) that when answering the official question I cited, you do not need to decide whether "debate over" is better than "debate on." Other and more definite errors can be used to eliminate answers.

One source, HERE, does not think that the official question tests the "debate over" idiom.

Takeaway: If debate is a verb, do not use OVER.
If debate is a noun, "debate over" is common and acceptable.

I hope that helps.
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To this day, researchers and theorists debate whether bubonic plague c &nbs [#permalink] 11 Nov 2018, 15:07

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